What Schools Offer Cooking Classes in the SF Bay Area?

Learn about cooking classes in the San Francisco Bay area. Get information about programs available, and get job growth and salary info for cooking professionals in the SF Bay area. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Individuals interested in taking cooking classes in the San Francisco Bay area may choose from a range of certificate programs in the field or to earn an associate's degree in hospitality or as a baker/pastry chef. The amount of time required to earn an award in the field ranges by school and certificate or degree program, from two semesters to two years. All cooking certificate and degree programs in the SF Bay region are offered by two-year, public schools. Some programs include hands-on training, providing students with work experience or an internship opportunity.


Schools Offering Cooking Certificate Programs in the SF Bay Area

City College of San Francisco

  • Program Name: Baking and Pastry Certificate
  • Program Length: 2 semesters, full-time
  • Tuition: No tuition costs, but students pay for some personal supplies; approximately $225 for 1st semester, $350 for the 2nd (costs as of 2012)
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 35,000 students (all undergraduate)
  • Address: 50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, California 94112
  • Phone: 415-239-3154

The baking and pastry certificate is a non-credit program, offered tuition-free through the Culinary and Service Skills (CSST) program. Students must provide their own uniforms, tools and books, but there is financial aid available to offset these expenses. This 2-part program offers extensive hands-on training, and the products you make are sold in both the student-run restaurant, The Educated Palate, and the adjoining coffee shop. The first class teaches you not only how to bake breads, rolls, pies and croissants, but also how to decorate cakes. The second class teaches you more advanced baking, such as frozen desserts, meringues, mousses and yeast-raised products.

Contra Costa College

  • Program Name: Classical/Modern Food Preparation and Restaurant Training Certificate of Achievement
  • Program Length: 37 semester units
  • Tuition: $46 per unit for residents; $241 per unit for non-residents (Fall 2012)
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 7,700 students (all undergraduate)
  • Address: 2600 Mission Bell Drive, San Pablo, California 94806
  • Phone: 510-235-7800, ext 4408

Contra Costa College's (CCC) classical/modern food preparation and restaurant training program is one of many culinary arts programs offered at CCC. You'll gain hands-on training working in the kitchen laboratory, as well as through an internship or work experience. In addition to teaching you to prepare classical and modern foods, this program teaches you about kitchen safety and sanitation. You'll also be prepared to obtain ServSafe certification. Add a few more credits of general education courses and you can earn an associate degree.

Diablo Valley College

  • Program Name: Culinary Arts Certificate of Achievement
  • Program Length: 2 years (46.5 semester units), full-time
  • Tuition: $46 per unit enrollment fee for residents; $247 per unit for non-residents (Fall 2012)
  • Admission Requirements: Proof of negative TB test
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 20,000 students (all undergraduate)
  • Address: 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, California 94523
  • Phone: 925-685-1230 Ext 2555

Diablo Valley College offers various culinary arts programs that are accredited by the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute. This certificate program offers a lot of hands-on training. You'll take courses in garde manger, culinary mathematics, meat, poultry and fish fabrication, baking fundamentals and advanced cuisine. Classes, which are held during the day and the evening, are arranged to be held 6 hours per day, 4 days a week. You'll be required to supply your own uniforms and equipment. You must maintain a grade of 'C' or better to earn this certificate.

Laney College

  • Program Name: Baking and Pastry Certificate
  • Program Length: 4 semesters (43 units), full-time
  • Tuition: $46 per semester unit for residents; $190 per unit for non-residents (2012-2013)
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 12,000 students (all undergraduate)
  • Address: 900 Fallon Street, Oakland, California 94607
  • Phone: 510-464-3406

The baking and pastry certificate program at Laney College will prepare you to work in a retail bakery, commercial store or as a cook. The curriculum includes lectures and laboratory courses. You'll learn about a variety of food-related topics, including meat analysis, candy and chocolate making, cake decorating, food costs, sanitation and artisan breads. This program frequently uses percentages and decimals, so math proficiency is important.


Schools Offering Cooking Associate's Degree Programs in the SF Bay Area

Contra Costa College

  • Program Name: Associate in Science - Training in Baking and Pastry Skills
  • Program Length: 4 semesters (60 units), full-time
  • Tuition: $46 per unit for residents; $241 per unit for non-residents (Fall 2012)
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 7,700 students (all undergraduate)
  • Address: 2600 Mission Bell Drive, San Pablo, California 94806
  • Phone: 510-235-7800 Ext 4408

CCC's training in baking and pastry skills program is offered as a certificate or an associate's degree program; general education courses are required for the latter. Through a curriculum of lectures and lab time, you'll learn about pastry product preparation, restaurant cakes and desserts, commercial baking and kitchen safety. You may gain experience working at the on-campus restaurant, The Three Seasons; off-site catering jobs and internships may also be available. You'll also be eligible to take the ServSafe certification exam.

Diablo Valley College

  • Program Name: Associate in Science in Hospitality Studies
  • Area of Study: Baking and pastry
  • Program Length: 2 years, full-time (36.5-47 semester units)
  • Tuition: $46 per unit enrollment fee for residents; $247 per unit for non-residents (Fall 2012)
  • Admission Requirements: Proof of negative TB screening
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 20,000 students (all undergraduate)
  • Address: 321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, California 94523
  • Phone: 925-685-1230 Ext 2199

The hospitality studies associate's degree program offers you the option of earning the 2-year degree and joining the workforce or pursuing advanced training in management. In addition to completing courses, you'll participate in cooperative education and a required internship. Baking and pastry courses include seasonal spring and fall desserts, advanced pastry and baking, and how to decorate confectionery pieces. This program also offers a culinary arts and a restaurant management specialization.


Training Requirements to Be a Professional Cook in the SF Bay Area

If a career as a professional chef or cook appeals to you, your best bet is to enroll in a formal training program. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that although most chefs learn through on-the-job training and work experience, a large number still obtain formal training. Training programs, usually at the certificate, diploma or associate degree level, can be found at community colleges, technical schools and culinary arts schools. Some schools may require you to complete an internship or apprenticeship. In addition to completing training, you may also want to obtain certification to demonstrate your knowledge to potential employers. The American Culinary Foundation (ACF) offers various levels of certification.

Employment and Salary Information for Cooks

Chefs and head cooks nationwide should see little or no change in employment growth between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. Many restaurant owners, in an attempt to save money, are choosing to hire lower-level cooks rather than professional chefs and cooks. As of May 2011, there were about 1,300 chefs and head cooks employed in the San Francisco - San Mateo - Redwood City region, and they earned a mean annual wage of around $55,000. This amount was substantially higher than the national average of $47,000.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

 More Schools