Cooking Classes in San Diego, CA with Program Descriptions

The San Diego, CA, area has at least three schools that offer cooking programs within 15 miles of downtown. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for all of these schools to make an informed education decision.

View popular schools

San Diego, CA, Schools with Cooking Programs

Students in the San Diego area have many cooking program options. At least three schools that are less than a 25-minute drive from the city offer several types of programs. This article contains a table with information on costs, enrollment and other facts that makes it easy for prospective cooking students to compare various schools.

  • Located about 15 miles from the city center, Grossmont College in El Cajon has the most varied program selection, with a total of eight certificate and associate degree programs from which to choose.
  • Offering a certificate and associate degree program, San Diego Mesa College is this area's most inexpensive option. This school is almost eight miles from downtown. In addition to working in the school cafeteria, students can develop skills in a simulated restaurant kitchen laboratory.
  • Southwestern College in Chula Vista, about 14 miles from downtown, has the lowest student-to-faculty ratio with 26 students for every faculty member. This school offers two programs for aspiring cooks and two programs for future bakers at the certificate and associate degree levels.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Bartending
  • Catering and Restaurant Management
  • Chef Training
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
  • Institutional Food Worker
  • Meat Cutting

Comparison of Schools

Prospective students need to examine many aspects of a school when they are making a decision on their education. The following table contains information that will guide them in their considerations.

Grossmont College San Diego Mesa College Southwestern College
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2014) 18,040* 24,159* 19,000*
Campus Setting Large suburb Large city Large suburb
Tuition and Fees (2015-2016) $1,388 in-state; $7,196 out-of-state* $1,142 in-state; $4,670 out-of-state* $1,336 in-state; $5,452 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2014) 69%* 67%* 78%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) N/A - Open admission N/A - Open admission N/A - Open admission
Retention Rate (2014) 68% for full-time students; 51% for part-time students* 68% for full-time students; 36% for part-time students* 71% for full-time students; 49% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (2014) 22% (16% transfer-out rate)* 23% (18% transfer-out rate)* 19% (12% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Grossmont College

This school's Certificate of Achievement and associate's degree programs provide students with in-class training and professional work experience.

Certificate of Achievement in Banquet Cook

This program can be completed by earning 13 credit hours. Students must pass courses in basic and intermediate culinary skills, food service sanitation and quantity food preparation. The preparation of salads, soups, stocks and sauces is explained.

Certificate of Achievement in Line Cook

This program requires students to complete 13 credit hours across 5 courses. Courses cover topics in soups, sauces, stocks, various culinary skills and preparation for fine dining. Before the program can be completed, students must become familiar with food safety and sanitation techniques.

Certificate of Achievement in Pastry Cook

This program is for students without much experience in culinary arts who intend to seek entry-level positions after graduation. It includes studies on food service sanitation, commercial baking, culinary arts skills, pastry arts and baking principles. Students are required to earn 13 credit hours for program completion.

Certificate of Achievement in Prep Cook

Heavy emphasis is placed on cooking stocks, soups and sauces. Students can earn additional training in fine dining food preparation, essential culinary skills, food preparation for groups, sanitation techniques and essential culinary skills. To graduate, students are required to complete 13 credit hours of coursework.

Certificate of Achievement in Baking and Pastry

Sugar work, chocolate preparation and decorative centerpieces are some of the classes taught in this 42-credit-hour program. Electives in healthy lifestyle cuisine and international cooking are available. Students can also practice decorating cakes and baking breads.

Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts

Instructors for this program teach a range of topics, including catering and ice carving. Core culinary arts courses include food purchasing, menu planning and pastry making. Electives in commercial baking, international cuisine, wine studies and catering management are also available. This program can be completed in 38 credit hours.

Associate of Science in Baking and Pastry

Students enrolled in this program need to complete the same major courses found in the baking and pastry certificate program. Unlike the certificate program, this program requires general education and elective courses. It takes a minimum of 60 credit hours to complete.

Associate of Science in Culinary Arts

A minimum of 60 credit hours are needed for graduation. Many of the same major courses are offered as in the culinary arts certificate program. Students also need to pass elective and general education courses.

San Diego Mesa College

Along with in-class work, this school provides professional culinary arts training though a culinary arts practicum. Associate's degree program graduates can use their credit hours to transfer to a 4-year school.

Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts/Culinary Management in Hospitality

This certificate program requires 30 credit hours to graduate. It explores topics in hospitality and tourism, sanitation, event catering, purchasing and leadership. Cooking classes provide hands-on demonstrations for following recipes, measuring ingredients, using equipment and preparing large-volume orders. Final products might include sandwiches, salads and desserts.

Associate in Science in Culinary Arts/Culinary Management in Hospitality

Most of the courses offered in this program can be found in the related certificate program. Students can learn how to prepare specialty items such as hors d'oeuvres, pates, pies, cookies and cultural foods. Garnishment and preparation of food are discussed. Other topics include nutrition, recipe modification, beverages and cost control. Students need to earn 60 credit hours to complete this program.

Southwestern College

Although most of this school's cooking training happens in the classroom, advanced certificate and associate's degree program students are expected to complete professional training by fulfilling work experience requirements.

Certificate of Proficiency in Culinary Arts: Cooking Essentials - Basic

During this program's 16 credit hours of coursework, students will encounter courses in soups, stocks, sauces, professional cooking skills, food purchasing, cultural foods and food control. A 1-credit hour computer literacy course is also needed. Before this program can be completed, students need to become familiar with food safety, nutrition and sanitation.

Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts: Cooking and Baking - Advanced

Courses offered include breads, pastry decorating, soups, stocks, sanitation, food purchasing and professional cooking skills. A total of 36-38 credit hours are needed to finish this program. Students are also required to complete a few related business courses.

Certificate of Achievement in Professional Baking and Pastry

Students can expect to encounter courses in food purchasing, control, sanitation, nutrition and safety. Baking classes cover breads, production basics, design and decorating. To meet program requirements, 18 credit hours are needed.

Associate in Science in Culinary Arts - Cooking and Baking

This program covers the same courses offered in the advanced cooking and baking certificate program. Students are required to earn additional credit hours from general education courses. A total of 60 credit hours are required for graduation.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?