Associate in Culinary Arts

The AACA Associate in Culinary Arts is a comprehensive program of culinary fundamentals combined with key elements in hospitality management and general education that is designed to prepare you for an exciting career in the culinary or hospitality industry. The Associate program is formulated for students who plan on working towards a management position in the culinary industry or starting their own business.

A Comprehensive Education

At AACA, you will also receive additional hands-on experience during an in-field internship, a cooperative effort between the Academy and the professional community surrounding our new, industry-standard campus facilities.

American Academy of Culinary Arts is a member of the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

Key Skills
Tuition, Loan Debt and Graduate Information
    • Basic knife skills
    • The fine art of sauce making
    • Principles of nutrition
    • Food safety and sanitation
    • Club and restaurant management
    • Hospitality supervision
    • Kitchen Design
    • Planning a healthy menu
    • Culinary and baking terminology
    • Plate presentation and creativity
    • The chemistry of baking
    • Matching specific wines to complement certain foods
    • Envisioning new concepts in restaurant experiences
    • Re-interpret classic recipes with your own deliciously different approach
    • Career planning and much more
  • Upon successful completion of the program, you will be awarded your Associate Degree in Culinary Arts and be prepared to sit for certification exams in a number of key areas, including sanitation and food safety.


    Introduction to Culinary Arts
    In this introductory course, students get their first hands-on experience in a professional kitchen. Topics include the fine art of sauce making (stocks, glazes, essences and all major soup categories), proper techniques for preparing salads, dressings and garnishes, and the principles of vegetable, starch and breakfast cookery. As they practice fundamental cooking techniques, students acquire basic knife skills and have an opportunity to prepare breakfast and mid-day meal classics. Throughout the course, strong emphasis is placed on safety, creativity and plate presentation.
    Fundamental Concepts of Cooking, Sanitation and Safety
    This course introduces the student to the underlying principles of the culinary arts profession. Students will become familiar with culinary terminology, industry standards, high-end kitchen equipment, and the many varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs at their disposal. The hierarchy of the professional kitchen is discussed, including various staff member roles and responsibilities. Students are also exposed to the complex selection, planning and time management procedures involved in daily kitchen operations. A major component of this course focuses on sanitation and safety in a food production environment. After studying the origins of foodborne diseases and preventative measures enforced by regulatory agencies, students learn proper procedures for handling food, cleaning and sanitizing their work area, and safely using and maintaining kitchen equipment. Upon successful completion of this course, students are certified in sanitation procedures by the American Culinary Federation.
    Effective Kitchen Design Principles
    The course outlines the best practices for designing a safe and effective professional kitchen, based on functional relationships, equipment space, and operating efficiencies. Students then get an opportunity to apply these principles to the design of their own mock kitchen.
    Introduction to Fish/Shellfish and Meats
    In this course, students learn the intricacies of round/flat fish and shellfish fabrication, preparation, and garnishing. Emphasis is placed on knife skills, yield results and proper storage for various types of fish. A sister unit covers the fabrication, preparation and garnishing of red meats, poultry, and game. Students become knowledgeable in muscle and bone structure of various meats, proper knife selection, and butchery equipment. Through lectures, demonstrations and hands-on activities, students gain experience in the preferred methods for cooking meats and fish, with emphasis on portion control, creativity and plate presentation. As a follow-up to earlier sanitation training, students learn the special requirements associated with handling and storing meats and fish.
    Purchasing and Cost Control
    This course exposes students to the process of planning, purchasing and controlling supplies in a food service environment, with the ultimate goal of cost containment. Students gain practical experience in the entire purchasing cycle, from supplier selection, forecasting, price negotiation and ordering, to inventory, storage and disbursement of food and kitchen supplies.
    Culinary Elements of Wines and Spirits
    Students gain an understanding of the important role of wines and spirits in the professional kitchen. They learn to differentiate between the chief wine regions of Europe and America and how to match specific wines to specific foods. In addition to hands-on practice in incorporating a wide variety of wines and alcohol into classic entrees and desserts, students gain exposure to proper techniques for wine tasting, bottle reading and front-of-the-house wine service.
    Baking and Pastry Fundamentals
    In this course, students learn the unique principles and chemistry involved in professional baking. They become versed in baking terminology, equipment, ingredients, weights and measures, and formula conversions. Special baking and design techniques are used to prepare a variety of baked goods and pastries, including basic breads, quick breads, cookies, pies and tarts, creams and mousses, cakes and frostings, and pate a choux, crepes and phyllo doughs. Students also learn the delicate technique for tempering chocolate and its use in soufflés and other classic pastries. The preparation and storage of ice creams and sorbets will also be covered. Specific sanitation requirements for the bakeshop are emphasized throughout the course.
    Nutrition and Menu Planning
    This course introduces students to fundamental nutrition principles and how to apply these concepts to the planning of healthy, yet appealing, menus. Topics include basic nutrients, label reading, and recipe analysis. Students will be familiarized with special dietary needs and how to skillfully adapt menus to address these restrictions. As a final project, students apply course principles to the design of a cycle menu.
    Fundamentals of Classical Cuisine/Garde Manger
    The goal of this advanced course is to build upon the students’ solid foundation in culinary arts by delving into classical French, Italian and Spanish cuisine. In addition to studying specific terminology, cooking techniques and presentations associated with each classical style, students gain an appreciation for the history and global influence of each cuisine type. This course also explores the organization, responsibilities, and equipment of the cold kitchen. Students get hands-on experience preparing simple platter layouts, cold hors d’oeuvres, and advanced salads in classical forms for receptions and buffets. Training includes exposure to tools for sausage making, grinding and smoking. Proper sanitation procedures are reinforced throughout the course.
    Advanced Intercontinental Cuisine
    In this higher-level course, the students’ previous training in classical European cuisine is complemented by an exploration of selected global cuisines of Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Germany. Emphasis is placed on gaining familiarity with the history, culture, indigenous ingredients, and food presentations of each region. Students have an opportunity to prepare, taste and evaluate dishes from these regions using traditional and contemporary cooking techniques and ultimately put their skills and creativity to the test in high-end culinary competitions. Kitchen sanitation requirements are emphasized throughout the course.
    Advanced Cooking and Pastry
    In this capstone course, students get the chance to apply their full range of culinary skills to the design and preparation of a full menu, complete with appetizer, fish course, entrée, salad and dessert. The focus is on contemporary American cuisines and the hottest culinary trends sweeping the nation. Students participate in a series of other industry-based projects, including confection design, shadowing a practicing chef in industry, and creating original recipes.
    Hospitality Supervision
    This course focuses on managing people from the hospitality supervisor's viewpoint. It includes techniques for increasing productivity and controlling labor costs, time management, and managing change. It also stresses effective communication and charts key responsibilities of a supervisor in a lodging or food service operation. Students refine strategies designed to motivate employees and resolve conflicts with staff, guests, and suppliers.
    Club & Restaurant Management
    The students learn all aspects of effectively managing a restaurant. Topics include development of a marketing plan, restaurant promotion, menu pricing, menu design and cost control. The critical human resource factor of managing a restaurant will also be discussed, including employee selection, training and development, and employee motivation.


    Steps to Career Success 1
    The purpose of this course is to acclimate students to the available resources to maintain their focus on achieving career goals. The course is scheduled for all students in the 1st quarter, one hour per week.
    Steps to Career Success 2
    The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of the nuances of industry. Topics will include industry related organizations, social networking, employer expectations and other professional skills. The course offering will vary by quarter depending on the program offered, one hour per week.
    Career Development
    The focus of this course is on preparing students for the upcoming job search process. They will produce a series of critical job search documents, including a resume, reference page, cover letter and thank you letter. These documents are applied to job search activities that give students the opportunity to hone their interview skills, research potential employers, complete an online job application, and experience a mock interview scenario.
    The Internship is a cooperative effort between the Institute and the professional community. It is designed to provide the students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills learned in their major in a related working environment. This internship requires 240 hours work experience.


    English Composition 1
    This writing course focuses on the writing of descriptive narrative, cause and effect, and process essays from the initial stage of prewriting to final revisions and editing. Topics included are purpose, audience, development, focus and organization, as well as word usage and sentence structure. Elements of grammar, spelling, and punctuation are reviewed. Assigned readings are part of class discussion and writing assignments. Prerequisite: Satisfactory performance on the writing proficiency exam; otherwise, students must have concurrent success with GEE099 and GEE100 before proceeding on to GEE150.
    English Composition 2
    This writing course is a continuation of the fundamentals introduced in GEE100 English Composition 1. Library and electronic research techniques and guidelines are thoroughly covered. Advanced persuasive writing and research-based persuasion are emphasized using citations and works cited according to MLA guidelines. Analytical and critical thinking skills are developed through students’ evaluation of their own writing and assigned readings. Prerequisite: Satisfactory performance on the writing proficiency exam or GEE100.
    Effective Speech
    This course focuses on the various dimensions of effective speaking with emphasis on audience analysis, reasoning, organization, evidence, and delivery. Throughout the course, the student is acquainted with the various types of speeches and their effectiveness through critical and analytical reading, individualized and group exercises and projects, and class discussions. Students deliver a variety of speeches, including informative and persuasive speeches.
    Principles of Mathematics
    This general studies course involves a review of the principles of mathematics. Topics to be discussed include whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percentages, ratios, measurement (both English and Metric systems), and an introduction to Algebra. For programs that require additional mathematics classes, students must earn a “C” or better grade in this course to advance to the next required math course.
    This course introduces the student to basic psychological principles. Topics include neuroscience and behavior, states of consciousness, learning, development, personality, health psychology, psychological disorders, and social psychology.
    Critical Thinking
    In today’s information age, critical thinking skills are vital for success. This course utilizes case studies to teach reasoning, analysis, and evaluation skills in everyday situations. Students learn the importance and benefits of critical and creative thinking, work through steps to understand, analyze, and evaluate specifics of argument and persuasion, and practice solving problems using critical thinking skills.
    Human Relations in Organizations
    This general studies course focuses on effective human relations in organizations. Specific areas of study include work relationships, ethical choices, team building, conflict management strategies, diversity in the workplace, and work-related stress.
    Cultural Diversity
    This course encourages understanding and appreciation among people of divergent backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities. Topics covered include technological changes, travel, political systems, immigration, and religious beliefs that have created a world in which people from different cultures increasingly interact. The course will explore similarities and differences through different media such as movies, documentaries, magazine articles, and more.

    * Students may have the option to choose Internship GSI192 in combination with GES250 Leadership Principles, or an alternative approved additional General Education Elective.

    **This course can be replaced by another approved General Education course.

  • The focus of this Associate program is designed to prepare motivated students for a diverse and growing range of careers in kitchens and hospitality institutions, including:

    • Restaurants
    • Bakeries
    • Country Clubs
    • Cruise Ships
    • Hotels & Resorts
    • Schools
    • Food & Beverage Companies
    • Casinos
    • Catering Companies
    • Grocery Stores
    • Hospitals and many others
    • Chef de Cuisine
    • Kitchen Manager
    • Caterer
    • Pastry Chef or Patissier
    • Sate Chef
    • Butcher
    • Sous Chef
    • Service Manager
    • Fry Cook
    • Food Stylist
    • Chef Saucier and many others
  • For graduation rates and other important consumer information regarding this program, please click on the link below:

    United States Department of Education Gainful Employment Data

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Culinary Seniors Showcase Talents

Three Culinary Seniors from the American Academy of Culinary Arts showcased their talents in the senior graduation event Saturday. Sarah Ritchey, Shaun Thompson, and Fa Pham created, cooked and presented dishes of their own design to an admiring crowd of family and guests.