Courses & Programs

Culinary Arts Certificate

Warren Leigh

Chair, Hospitality Mgt and Culinary Arts

Business and Technology

Culinary Arts Institute 

413.552.2298 (Tel)

what will you learn?

The Culinary Certificate program prepares students for a variety of positions in the diverse field of food service. Accredited by the American Culinary Federation, HCC is the only Massachusetts community college that holds this certification. Want to go farther? The certificate fulfills the first year of HCC's associate degree in Foodservice Management, which prepares students to transfer to culinary degree-granting institutions such as Johnson & Wales University, the Culinary Institute of America, and New England Culinary Institute.

Students will use a teamwork-based business approach to identify, define, respond to and evaluate problems and resolutions in various foodservice industry situations and to further an understanding of professional development in the industry, utilize basic arithmetic, and understand current nutritional issues.   


Upon graduating from this program, students will be able to:

  • Use a hands-on approach to identify, define and appropriately handle a vast variety of food product and equipment as utilized in the commercial kitchen, dining room and bakeshop.
  • Understand the current industry standards as well as legal and ethical issues involved in the safe-handling and service of food beverages.

what will you do?

Job and career options include:

  • Food Preparation
  • Restaurant Customer Service
  • Food Server
  • Cook

Learn more at HCC's Advising, Career and Transfer Center and at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

31 total credits

31 program requirements

An intensive course designed to prepare students for professional studies in the culinary arts.  Focus will be on understanding characterstics of the ingredients used in food preparation as well as developing an appreciation of food as a sensory, cultural, and aesthetic experience.

Prerequisite: Eligibility for MTH 085 and ENG 095 with a grade of C- or better, or adequate score on the reading comprehension portion of the placement examination.  Additional Course Fee: $425.00 Uniforms and Tools (The fee is subject to change.)

Corequisite: CUL 115

An intensive course designed to prepare students for professional studies in the culinary arts.  Focus will be on developing proficiency in a number of basic food preparation techniques, then using that proficiency to prepare and present food items in a variety of settings.  Students will be introduced to the various career opportunities that exist in the culinary arts.

Prerequisite: CUL 100 with a C- or better. Co-requisite: CUL 115.

Focus is on the mechanics of pursuing a career in the foodservice industry. Students will explore multiple career paths within the foodservice industry and learn how to manage and advance their careers successfully.
An introduction to culinary and dining service skills as practiced in function settings. Students will participate in an ongoing series of special banquet and reception projects during which they will be coached through the food preparation and service required. 1 class hour per week and 35 clock hours in special events as assigned throughout the semester. Prerequisite or Corequisite: CUL 100
The fundamental principles and procedures for preparing baked goods, pastries, and desserts. Proper mixing and baking techniques, weights and measures, recipe conversion, terminology, function of ingredients, and baking science. Preparation and analysis of cookies, cakes, butter creams, icings, quick breads, yeast breads, and pastries. Appropriate for in-service professionals as well as cooks and students who desire further training in baking techniques. Lecture, demonstration, and laboratory methods insure that a firm base in both theory and practice of the baking arts is acquired.Prerequisite: Eligibility for both MTH 085 and ENG 095
A study of sanitation and safety problems encountered in the food service industry, with an emphasis on proper food handling techniques. A nationally recognized foodservice safety and sanitation exam-NRAEF is taken as part of the course.
This course is designed to teach culinary arts students to apply basic mathematics to specific applications in the foodservice industry. A brief review of basic math will be followed up by an introduction to US units of measure and metric conversions. Further subject matter will include weight/volume conversions, yield percentages, edible portion costs, recipe costing, and beverage calculations. Rules of thumb and common industry usages of the aforementioned skills will be explored. Prerequisite: Eligibility for MTH 085

An introductory course in human nutrition for the culinary arts student, foodservice management student, and foodservice professional. The course content focuses on the science of human nutrition as it relates to personal health, food preparation, menu planning, recipe modification, and the marketing of nutritious menu items within a commercial or institutional foodservice setting.  2.5 Class Hours and 1.25 Lab Hours.  Prerequisites: CUL 100

Focus is on the role of personal development and professional behaviors in the foodservice industry. Students will be encouraged to seek appropriate employment or volunteer opportunities tailored to their individual interests and will acquire the tools necessary to achieving that goal. The course will emphasize such topics as locating potential employers, writing resumes and cover letters, conducting successful interviews and creating a working job search portfolio. Prerequisite: A grade of C- or better in CUL 104

The fundamental principles and techniques underlying the cost control process of foodservice operations specifically within the context of food production and procurement. Topics include standards and controls, recipe costing, purchasing, food, beverage and cost percentages, foodservice financial statements, inventory control, and menu pricing.  Prerequisites: CUL 101 and CUL 115 with a grade of C- or better.

Builds on fundamental cooking and service techniques within a restaurant venue. Students are guided through planning, producing, and serving menu items in an a la carte setting. Emphasis is placed on traditional American and International dishes. Speed and accuracy of production, plate presentation, communication, and efficient service are main elements of study. Students will participate in a capstone group project in which they design and execute an a la carte menu. Prerequisite: Grade of C- or better in CUL 101 and passing score on NRAEF ServSafe Certification Exam.
An intensive study of both the technical and managerial skills used in banquet food production and service, with special emphasis on the planning and execution of a variety of special events. Topics covered include buffets, cocktail receptions, formal dinners, off-premises catering, and the control and service of wines and alcoholic beverages. One lecture hour per week and 70 clock hours in special events as assigned throughout the semester. Prerequisite: Grade of C- or better in CUL 101 and CUL 105, or HCA 130; and a passing score on the NRAEF ServSafe Certification Exam.

Students must pass the NRAEF ServSafe exam in order to complete the requirements for attaining the certificate. CUL 111 may be waived in lieu of an earned and valid ServSafe Certificate. NTR 101 may be substituted for CUL 203.