Culinary Arts

Culinary Arts - AAS-T

BTC’s programs in Culinary Arts are ideal for students with a passion for food and pastry, and an interest in the fast-growing food service industry. Once you graduate with your Associate of Applied Science-Transfer degree, you can go straight to work in top jobs in the food industry, or transfer your class credits to a four-year college or university to earn your bachelor's degree.

Bellingham Technical College’s Culinary Arts program offers the highest quality culinary education available. You’ll receive training from an award-winning faculty in state-of-the-art facilities and learn the culinary skills you need to function as a professional in the fast-paced restaurant and food-service industry. You can put your training to work in a wide range of restaurants, bakeries, pastry shops, hotels, schools and universities, hospitals, and catering companies.

The Culinary Arts Program is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the American Culinary Federation Foundation.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

97% BTC graduate placement rate1

$37,046 starting annual wage2
$42,683 average annual wage2
$52,852 potential annual wage2

BTC Culinary Arts graduation rates: The graduation rate reflects the percentage of students starting in the Culinary Arts program who receive a Culinary Arts degree within three years.

Certification Information

100% ACF certification rate for students graduating in 2020-21
100% ACF certification rate for students graduating in 2022

BTC ACF certification rates: The ACF certification rate reflects the percentage of students graduating with a Culinary Arts degree who receive ACF certification within one year of program completion.

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2017-18 and 2019-20. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Whatcom County and WA State wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2018-21 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

The program typically starts in Fall Quarter on a space available basis.

A cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater and a grade of C- will be the minimum passing grade for all Culinary program courses and a minimum grade of C for all General Education courses.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at for assistance with academic planning.

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 108

  • Current Students: Learn how to use this page to register for classes

  • Quarter 1

  • CUL 110Sanitation & Safety2 CR
  • CUL 112Introduction to Hospitality2 CR
  • CUL 114Culinary Skill Development I6 CR
  • CUL 118Commercial Kitchen Equipment2 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • CUL 122Culinary Skill Development II6 CR
  • CUL 126Pastry Skill Development I6 CR
  • CUL 142Nutrition2 CR
  • MATH& 107Math in Society5 CR
  • OR Higher
  • Quarter 3

  • CUL 144American Regional a' la carte Cookery7 CR
  • CUL 146Pastry Skill Development II7 CR
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 CR
  • OR
  • ENGL& 102English Composition II5 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • CUL 150Field-Based Experience6 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • OR
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 CR
  • OR
  • SOC& 101Introduction to Sociology5 CR
  • CUL 116Meat Identification and Fabrication4 CR
  • CUL 218Garde Manger6 CR
  • CUL 222Supervisor Development3 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • CUL 220Restaurant Management5 CR
  • CUL 224Food and Beverage Service3 CR
  • CUL 226International Cuisine6 CR
  • CUL 228Banquet and Catering Management3 CR
  • Quarter 7

  • CUL 230Northwest a' la carte Cookery8 CR
  • CUL 232Food and Beverage Service Lab2 CR
  • CUL 236Wine Appreciation2 CR

Program Outcomes

After successfully completing this program, students will be able to:

  • Conform and comply with health standards based on US Food and Drug Administration, Washington State, and local health department sanitation and hygiene codes and laws.
  • Apply fundamentals and advanced skills in sustainable design and purchasing, butchery, Garde Manger, classical sauce, soups and stocks, food and beverage service, farinaceous foods, classical cookery techniques in international cuisine, American regional cuisines, and define product specifications.
  • Plan, prepare, and cook foods ala carte and buffet style consistently in a visually appealing manner while maintaining taste, nutritive value, flavor, and texture in classical and contemporary cooking methods.
  • Correctly prepare a variety of classical breads, artisan breads, classical pastry items, and desserts with the ability to correctly evaluate finished products for proper texture, color, palatability, shape, and doneness.
  • Plan, develop and analyze the dining room layout, facility design, menu design, cost analysis, marketing plan, and projected profit and loss statements.
  • Describe the fundamental nutrients in the human diet, identify a variety of contemporary dietary needs and demonstrate the ability to create and cook modified menus to meet those needs.

Employment Outlook

Culinary Arts program graduates prepare for careers as sous chefs, line, pantry and prep cooks, bakers, deli workers, food managers, and caterers. The employment outlook for culinary program graduates is very strong, and students can expect to earn excellent wages. Skilled workers in Culinary Arts are in high demand.

Faculty & Support

Brian has cooked professionally for over 35 years holding positions as a corporate restaurant chef, garde manger chef, banquet chef, catering chef, private chef, and butcher. He attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating number one in his class, being awarded the Francis Roth Most Outstanding Student award. He has worked at many fine restaurants and hotels including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Amelia Island (Florida), Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill, David Burke’s Park Avenue Café (Chicago), and locally at Thirteen Coins and The Herb Farm Restaurant. He taught culinary arts for eight years in Asheville, North Carolina before joining Bellingham Technical College in 2003.

  • Degrees and Credentials

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    AOS, Culinary Arts, The Culinary Institute of America

    Certificate, Servsafe Certification, National Restaurant Association

    Certified Executive Chef, American Culinary Association

    Certified Culinary Educator, American Culinary Association

Nicole has cooked professionally for 20 years. She has always loved the restaurant industry and has explored many facets including restaurant management, catering and banquet chef, corporate training and opening of properties, butchering, front of the house, bartending and beverage service, brewing, coffee service and private chef. She graduated from the Culinary Arts program at South Seattle Community College in 2003. She ran a catering company and managed a restaurant before changing gears to teaching at Bellingham Technical College. In her last 11 years at BTC, Nicole has advanced in positions starting as a temporary instructional technician then moving into teaching as a part-time adjunct instructor. She is now a full-time instructor and is also responsible for purchasing in the Culinary & Pastry Arts programs.