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Culinary Arts


If you have a great passion for cooking and the drive to pursue your goal as a professional cook, food entrepreneur, and more, there is no better time to start a career in this thriving landscape. This program provides strong culinary foundations training with a hands-on optional externship.

Students can acquire intensive professional and practical experience with culinary preparations and operation of a professional kitchen. With a focus on foundational and fundamental skills development and reinforcement, universal and widely-adopted methods and techniques of cooking as well as recipes and activities, will reinforce the same principles taught in professional culinary schools around the world. This comprehensive course covers a full basic professional cooking school curriculum including, but not limited to kitchen and food safety, knife skills, moist- and dry-heat cooking methods, seasoning, culinary nutrition, basic breads and baking, salads and dressings, and pastry basics.

Who Should Attend

  • First-time cooks seeking to start a career as a professional cook
  • Entrepreneurs wishing to acquire foundational cooking techniques to help launch a culinary business
  • Experienced cooks brushing up on their techniques
  • Home cooks looking to learn these advanced techniques and methods

Career Insight

Occupational summary for chefs and head cooks. Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

Annual Job Openings
Projected Growth
Median Salary
(Highly experienced workers can earn up to $81k)

Program Benefits

  • Small class size, in-person training
  • Optional externship with Marriott International and other foodservice companies available
  • Professional kitchen facilities
  • Complete program quickly – 6 months part-time in the evening
  • Fraction of the cost of traditional culinary schools
  • Payment plan available


  • Intensive, hands-on practical experience and business/kitchen management training
  • Personal mentorship by Chef Ray on how to approach and communicate in this service industry
  • Cooking techniques and recipes tailored to what restaurants and diners want today
  • Chef uniform and knife set included

Course Schedule

TBD – Scheduling is currently in flux due to COVID-19
Tuesday and Wednesday evenings: 6:30pm – 10:30pm
The Hood Kitchen Space (Costa Mesa, CA)

Required Courses

MISC 815.02
Professional Culinary Foundations (15.00 CEU)
MISC 815.02
    to be scheduled  

Course schedules are subject to change. Individual courses may be taken without enrolling in the full program.

Receive Customized Training for your Employees

Academic Calendar

Event Spring 2021 Summer 2021 Fall 2021 Winter 2022
Registration Begins (after 2pm PT) Jan 21 Apr 22 Jul 15 Oct 21
Courses Begin* (week of) Mar 29 Jun 21 Sep 20 Jan 3
Courses End* (week of) Jun 7 Sep 7 Dec 13 Mar 14
Parking Permits Expire Jun 30 Sep 30 Dec 31 Mar 31
Administrative Holidays Mar 26, May 31 Jul 5, Sep 6 Nov 11, Nov 25-26, Dec 23-24, Dec 30-31 Jan 17, Feb 21

*Actual dates may vary by program.


At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand basic food and kitchen safety and sanitation
  • Select, handle and maintain a knife and demonstrate knife cuts
  • Identify, describe and apply dry-heat cooking methods
  • Identify, describe and apply moist-heat cooking methods
  • Explain and demonstrate stock, short stock, and broth production
  • Demonstrate knowledge and application of seasoning and flavoring
  • Explain and apply principles of plating
  • Determine and evaluate basic nutrition in foods and specialty diets
  • Explain and demonstrate principles of egg cookery
  • Explain and demonstrate principles of salad production and vegetable cookery
  • Prepare and present a variety of classic and contemporary sauces
  • Explain and demonstrate principles of meat, poultry and fish cookery
  • Explain and demonstrate principles of pasta, legume, rice, and grain cookery
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic bread, baking, and gluten functions
  • Demonstrate knowledge and application of basic pastry and chocolate use
  • Demonstrate and apply knowledge of plant-based and dairy-free diets

View Course Syllabus

About the Instructor

Ray L. Estrada, MBA, has over 23 years of global Culinary and Hospitality Management experience. Ray has worked in every platform of food and beverage, including fine dining, hotels, healthcare, education, and fast casual. He has been teaching Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management for 10 years, and has worked for top businesses such as The Walt Disney Company, Le Cordon Bleu, and Patina Restaurant Group. Do you have any culinary career or program questions? Email Ray.

Certificate of Completion

Upon the successful completion of all course requirements, students will receive a Certificate of Completion from UCI Division of Continuing Education.

Recipe: Gnocchi. Chef Ray Estrada demonstrates his technique to create a northern Italian-style gnocchi with a California twist. Go to recipe.

Where do trained chefs work?

Trained cooks are in demand in both the hospitality and tourism industries. Employment in the foodservice area is growing and will continue to grow. Some career possibilities include positions in restaurants, clubs, bakeries, hotels and institutions. There are many different kinds of foodservice organizations and, as a result, position titles vary.

Examples of position titles (depending on experience, education and other factors):

  • Chef de Cuisine
  • Chef de Partie
  • Sous Chef
  • Executive Chef
  • Line or Prep Cook
  • Caterer
  • Food Buyer
  • Food Stylist
  • Food & Beverage Director
  • Expediter
  • Assistant Cook
  • Research & Development Chef
  • Food Journalist
  • Food Critic or Blogger

Professional Kitchen

Location: The Hood Kitchen Space, Costa Mesa, CA

Our program highlights a professional training kitchen. The facility enables students to gain familiarity with the fast-paced environment and diverse tools of a working kitchen.

On-site Training Available

Our Corporate Training specialists can deliver this program or customize one that fits your organization’s specific needs. Visit Corporate Training or call (949) 824-1847 for information.

English Proficiency Requirement
All certificate programs at UCI Division of Continuing Education (classroom and online formats) require professional-level English language proficiency in listening and note-taking, reading comprehension and vocabulary, written expression, and oral presentation.

Meet the Instructor. Chef Ray Estrada shares his culinary background and how it led him to his passion of teaching.

Student Testimonial. Ullanda D. shares her excitement about her training and camaraderie in the Culinary Arts program.

Culinary Career Information Session
Recorded 6/11/2019
View Webinar