South Seattle Community College - The Culinary Arts Program

South Seattle Community College
  • The Culinary Arts Program at South Seattle Community College is consistently ranked among the top training programs in the country by the National Restaurant Association. Our students have won awards at various state and national competitions. Tours/Open HouseWe encourage prospective students to contact us and come in for an information tour/open house while classes are in session. Call (206) 934-5344 to reserve a spot. NOTE * Please do not wear sandals or open toed shoes to the tours.CareersWith culinary skills, many students find work in restaurants, the hotel industry, pastry and specialty shops, cruise lines and resorts, bakery and candy companies, catering services, institutional food service operations, and for themselves. The division works closely with industry leaders to develop program content. Progressive, innovative instruction in production and service surroundings is the basis for the program's renowned success. Students operate multiple food outlets as part of their training:Career Pathway Thumbnail link A Food Court with a cafeteria line, deli, and grillA casual dining cafe - Café AlkiA formal dining room - Alhadeff GrillA retail pastry shop - Bernie's PlaceJob placement is consistently between 95 and 100 percent for all graduates.Areas of TrainingProductionStudents progress from limited menu, high-volume operations through specialty and steamtable techniques to classical dining presentations. Students learn fundamental entrees, sauces, pantry/meat/poultry/fish preparation and classical sauce and sauté preparations. Introduction to kitchen management is incorporated into daily class work.ServiceService Skills With hands-on training techniques, students learn table side preparations, tray and hand service, banquet and reception organization and layout, cashier and reception skills, and dining room and business functions.ManagementThis component of practical application of inventory control, operations analysis and purchasing underscore production exercises throughout the program. Computer and manual reporting, receiving and storage of goods and hands-on purchasing for multifaceted operation are key management segments. Students gain practical experience in personnel management and human relations during everyday dining room and kitchen operation.Pastry and Specialty BakingStudents learn entry level skills and progress to advanced techniques with practical laboratory experience in high quality pastry production focusing on European type products, including confections and display work.Wine TechnologyThe program provides introductory and professional development classes relating to the wine industry. Options include focus on wine making, wine marketing and sales, or food and wine pairing. The program will prepare individuals, through classroom instruction and laboratory experience, for a career in the wine industry, or, provide advanced skill training for those already employed in the industry.

Recent User Reviews

  1. naturesbliss
    "Great experience, long hours."
    Pros - Supportive teaching staff, nice facilities,comprehensive curriculum, less expensive than other schools.
    Cons - Long class hours, Chef instructor to student ratio
    I am currently a student in the Pastry and Baking Program at South Seattle College. This college also has a thriving culinary program, wine school and offers a bachelors degree in hospitality. So far I have had a positive experience at South. The Pastry and Baking Program is a production based program, so we students are supplying breads, cookies and pastries for the school cafeteria, special events, weekly luncheons, coffee house and special orders from the general public. The pace can vary greatly depending on the production needs for the week, and when its slow we get to work on some special projects. 

    The curriculum is broken down into a quarterly basis with a theory based lecture class accompanying a lab class. The curriculum covers cookies, cakes, specialty desserts, decorating, breads, viennoiserie, fancy desserts, chocolate, sugar work, and general bakeshop management. 

    The instructors are amazing. Very patient, knowledgeable and great at juggling the needs of so many students. Each instructor is responsible for up to 30 students with 3 different quarterly focuses, which sometimes creates a line and wait time to get some personal attention from your chef instructor. The 6th quarter students also act as assistants to the instructor and rotate through helping each class.

    As a community college this school is much more affordable than some of the other schools in the Seattle area, with a tuition around $10,000 for the AA degree. It also has a great reputation.  While tuition is more affordable there is still the up front cost of uniforms and supplies, which can run an upwards of $800. 

    This program is quite the time commitment with classes all day long 5 days a week for 6 quarters (18 months). After the baking classes from 7AM - 1:30PM,  M-F; there are the other requirements like math, english, nutrition, sanitation and other general education classes that are required for the degree. 

    Like anything in life, you get what you put into it and this program is no different. I am having a great time trying new things, learning from experience, meeting people with similar interests and pushing my personal edges.
      1 person likes this.


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