The Garden State offers several certificate and associate's degree programs for aspiring culinarians. Much of the curriculum is made up of hands-on training and practicing culinary skills and techniques learned in the classroom. Internships, externships, and other cooperative work experiences are not uncommon. Associate's degree programs in culinary arts usually include some general education coursework, while certificate programs concentrate on the arts exclusively.
New Jersey is home to thirteen public and private not-for-profit schools that offer programs in culinary arts or a related field. Continue reading for overviews of nine of the programs, along with a comparison chart of tuition and program info.
Atlantic Cape Community College
The Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College, located in Mays Landing, has a 29,000-square-foot culinary facility with a gourmet restaurant, a small retail bakery, teaching kitchens, classrooms and a student cafeteria. The associate's degree program in culinary arts exposes students to various techniques and styles for preparing food, ordering food, planning menus and working with culinary equipment. In addition to general education courses and classes in culinary theory, students complete hands-on, practical class work.
Bergen Community College
Paramus-based Bergen Community College offers several certificate options and one associate's degree program in culinary entrepreneurship. The school's culinary facilities include two lab kitchens with modern, commercial equipment, as well as a full-service dining room, a student-operated cafeteria and several food storage rooms.
The culinary entrepreneurship degree program combines 21-22 credits of general education courses with 43 credits of required courses such as introductory business, food protection, hospitality law, computer applications, banquet and catering management, restaurant service management and menu planning. Students also complete a cooperative work experience that offers the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field. In addition to degree programs, students can complete a certificate in culinary arts and culinary sciences.
Brookdale Community College
Together with Monmouth County Vocational School District, Brookdale Community College offers culinary arts degree and certificate programs at its Culinary Education Center of Monmouth County in Asbury Park. The curriculum is designed to give students the skills and knowledge needed to gain entry-level employment in a restaurant, commercial kitchen, food production facility or other hospitality and service industry facility.
In addition to coursework in the associate's program, students are required to complete an externship, usually after the second or third term. The degree typically takes two years to complete and includes courses in topics such as meat and seafood science, classical cuisine, patisserie, baking skills and international cuisine. Students interested in a shorter education can complete a culinary arts or pastry arts certificate program.
Hudson County Community College
Hudson County Community College, located in Jersey City, has a state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Institute with classrooms, kitchens, an ice-sculpting studio, a butchery room and a library with thousands of cookbooks. Students can expect to study a variety of subjects ranging from beverage management and cost control to menu planning and baking. The Culinary Arts Institute is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission and the American Culinary Federation Educational Foundation. The college offers certificate and associate's degree programs in culinary arts and baking and pastry. Students earning the culinary arts degree with a baking and pastry option take most of their courses at the Culinary Arts Institute's pastry labs. Additionally, certificate programs are available in cold and hot food production.
Mercer County Community College
Mercer County Community College, located in West Windsor, offers several culinary arts degrees. The associate's degree in culinary arts is a 66-credit program that teaches students how to use food production equipment, prepare food using safe and sanitary methods and more. Typical courses include menu planning, food sanitation and safety, applied kitchen skills, food and culture, culinary math and professional baking. The program features a culinary arts and pastry arts concentration.
The associate's degree program in culinology, approved by the Research Chefs Association, combines food science and culinary arts, and it is one of ten similar programs in the United States. Similar to the culinary arts program, the curriculum includes classes in food sanitation, baking and food preparation. However, it's focused on combining science with culinary creativity, enabling its graduates to contribute to developing new flavors and products. Students typically take several science courses in addition to core classes such as techniques of healthy cooking, experimental kitchen/flavor sensory perception and grilling, barbecuing and smoking. Mercer also offers certificate programs in professional baking and professional cooking.
Middlesex County College
The culinary arts management degree program at Middlesex County College in Edison takes about two years to complete. Students who graduate from an associate's degree program are eligible to transfer the credits to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor's degree. Classes include computer applications, food service sanitation, food production, culinary technique, beverage management, baking fundamentals and an externship in culinary arts. Culinary arts students may also choose to complete a 34-credit culinary arts certificate program.
Ocean County Vocational - Technical School
Toms River-based Ocean County Vocational - Technical School offers a culinary arts tech prep program for adult learners through the service occupations division. The program includes about 900 hours of training in food preparation, baking, management and food safety. The vocational college also offers agreements with two- and four-year colleges so students can earn college credit upon program completion.
Raritan Valley Community College
Although Branchburg-based Raritan Valley Community College doesn't offer a culinary arts degree, it does have an associate's degree program in food and beverage management. The curriculum includes many of the same courses that other schools include as part of a culinary arts program. Courses include menu development, food preparation, food and beverage purchasing and food safety. Graduates can enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year school to earn a bachelor's degree.
Rowan College at Burlington County
At Rowan College at Burlington County in Pemberton, students can find associate's degree programs within the culinary arts, hospitality and tourism division. The Associate of Science program is a 65-credit program that combines general education courses in math, science and history with core courses in culinary techniques, hospitality menu planning, professional baking and nutrition. The Associate of Applied Science degree program is a 63-credit program with classes in American regional cuisine, garde manger and a culinary arts practicum. An Associate of Applied Science in Pastry Arts is also available. The college's Culinary Arts Center is a 19,000-square-foot facility with labs, classrooms, hot and cold kitchens, bakeries and high-quality industrial equipment.
School Comparison: At A Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Culinary Arts Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Atlantic Cape Community College||Two-year; public; rural||Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts|| $4,818 (in-district),
$7,818 (out-of-state) per year
|Bergen Community College||Two-year; public; large suburb|| Culinary Arts Certificate,
Culinary Science Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Entrepreneurship
| $4,500 (in-district),
$8,526 (out-of-state) per year
|Brookdale Community College||Two-year; public; rural||Culinary Arts Academic Credit Certificate,
Pastry Arts Academic Credit Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts
| $4,869 (in-district),
$8,663 (out-of-state) per year
|Hudson County Community College||Two-year; public; midsize city|| Culinary Arts (Cold Food) Proficiency Certificate,
Culinary Arts (Hot Food) Proficiency Certificate,
Culinary Arts (Baking) Proficiency Certificate,
Culinary Arts Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts: Baking and Pastry Option
| $5,718 (in-district),
$14,028 (out-of-state) per year
|Mercer County Community College||Two-year; public; rural|| Certificate in Professional Baking,
Certificate in Professional Cooking,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinology,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts
| $4,206 (in-district),
$7,638 (out-of-state) per year
|Middlesex County College||Two-year; public; large suburb|| Culinary Arts Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts Management
| $3,516 (in-district),
$7,032 (out-of-state) per year
|Ocean County Vocational-Technical School||Less than two-year; public; large suburb||Culinary Arts Program||$10,160 per year|
|Raritan Valley Community College||Two-year; public; rural||Associate of Applied Science in Food and Beverage Management|| $4,612 (in-district),
$5,692 (out-of-state) per year
|Rowan College at Burlington County||Two-year; public; rural|| Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts,
Associate of Science in Culinary Arts,
Associate of Applied Science in Pastry Arts
| $4,725 (in-district),
$7,185 (out-of-state) per year
Source: *NCES College Navigator.