Cooking Classes in Seattle with Degree Program Overviews

Jan 17, 2019

The Seattle area has at least six colleges that offer cooking programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools that are no more than 20 miles from downtown and make an informed education decision.

Seattle Schools with Cooking Programs

Students in Seattle can find cooking classes and programs at several community and technical colleges. This article looks at three of these schools, all within 25 minutes of the city center, and the many types of culinary arts-related programs they offer. There is general information about each program, and before that section of the article is a table that cites facts about each school, including enrollment, tuition, graduation rates and tuition. This table is formatted in a way that makes it easy to compare the schools. At the end of the article is a listing of a few other Seattle-area schools that offer cooking training.

  • Part of the Seattle Colleges District, the Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central College, in the heart of downtown Seattle, offers certificates and associate's degree programs in the culinary arts as well as in desserts and breads.
  • South Seattle College, about seven miles south of downtown, is also part of the Seattle Colleges District. It offers certificates and associate's degree program in banquets and catering as well as and restaurant production.
  • Renton Technical College offers cooking classes and programs about 16 miles south of Seattle. Its cooking options include certificate programs in baking and culinary arts and an associate's degree program in culinary arts.

Comparison of Schools

Individuals looking to pursue culinary arts studies can use information from the following table to help them compare important aspects of these schools as they make a decision about their education.

Seattle Central College South Seattle College Renton Technical College
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; public 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 6,928 6,716 3,763
Campus Setting Large city Large city Small city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $3,795 $4,515 $5,377
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017)* 64% 61% 74%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* Open admissions Open admissions Open admissions
Retention Rate (2017)* N/A N/A N/A
Graduation Rate (Students beginning in 2011)* 25% (24% transfer-out rate) 41% (16% transfer-out rate) 63% (9% transfer-out rate)

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Seattle Central College

Seattle Central College is a 4-year public school, but it primarily offers 2-year degree programs. Culinary programs are offered through this school's Seattle Culinary Academy and include programs in professional culinary arts and specialty desserts and breads. Accredited by the American Culinary Federation, students can pursue both certificate and Associate of Applied Science programs.

Certificate/Associate in Applied Science in Specialty Desserts and Breads

The specialty desserts and breads program is offered as a 5-quarter certificate program or a 5-quarter associate's degree program. This program is aimed at individuals interested in careers as a professional pastry chefs or bakers. In addition to standard baking and pastry production, students can learn work with cheese and chocolate. Students prepare desserts and bread for the school's pastry shop and campus restaurants. Students also study wedding cake decoration, sugar blowing, artisan bread baking, candy crafting and showpiece design.

Certificate/Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts

The culinary arts program is offered as a 6-quarter certificate program or a 6-quarter Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts degree program. Both programs cover all aspects of working in, operating and efficiently managing a food service establishment. Topics of study include labor and food cost management, principles of sustainability, cooking and pastry techniques, food production management, sanitation and professionalism.

South Seattle College

South Seattle College's (SSC) culinary arts program is listed by the National Restaurant Association as one of the top training programs in the country. Offered through the Professional and Technical Education Department, SSC's culinary arts program offers specialties in catering and banquet operations as well as restaurant food service production. Students who pursue an associate's degree have the option to begin a career or transfer their credits to an institution with a 4-year program.

Certificate/Associate of Applied Science in Banquets and Catering

The banquets and catering program is offered as a certificate and associate's degree. Both programs require the same coursework; however, the associate's degree program also requires completion of general education classes. Students typically begin their studies with health, sanitation and culinary theories classes before moving onto more specialized and hands-on training. Students operate four establishments, including a food court, cafe, dining hall and bakery.

Certificate/Associate of Applied Science in Restaurant Production

Students enrolled in the restaurant and food service production program have an opportunity to gain hands-on training at the on-campus cafeteria and dining rooms - Cafe Alki and Alhadeff Grill. The program teaches students about inventory control, purchasing, supervision and personnel management. The curriculum also includes several culinary fundamentals courses.

Renton Technical College

Renton Technical College offers over 60 training programs for students who want to begin a career after graduation. Areas of study include manufacturing, allied health, education, culinary, construction and business. Both the professional baking and culinary arts programs offer cooking classes.

Professional Baking Certificate

The professional baking certificate is 67 credits and offers students a chance to learn through hands-on training. Courses teach students about baking breads, pastries, cakes, cookies, pies and doughnuts. The school also has a retail bakery that sells baked goods and cakes to students and faculty.

Certificate/Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Students enrolled in a culinary arts certificate program are required to complete 95.5 credits of culinary courses; however, those who want to earn an associate's degree must earn an additional 20 credits of general education requirements. Courses cover topics in nutrition, delicatessen, garde manger, knife skills, sanitation, breakfast cookery, bakery basics, dining room services and wine appreciation. The program culminates in a 5-credit internship.

Other School Options

Students in the Seattle area can also pursue culinary and cooking training at Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, Olympic College in Bremerton and Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood.

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