Art Institutes

CulinaryArts

I'm ready to take on the world.

For you, food isn’t just what you eat. It’s somewhere between how you express your creativity and who you are as a person. And at a time when culinary tastes are evolving and cultural barriers are disappearing, the industry needs people like you. In our Culinary Arts degree programs, you’ll be immersed in an environment that’s as close to the real world as it gets. Working in a modern, professional kitchen, you can hone your cooking skills as you focus on learning to deliver the popular international flavors and techniques today’s consumers—and employers—want and expect. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty*. It’ll take everything you’ve got. But it can lead to a career where you do what you love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Quarter Credit Hours:
90
Timeframe:
6 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes
X

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/479 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Diploma in Culinary Arts

Quarter Credit Hours:
55
Timeframe:
4 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes
X

Diploma in Culinary Arts

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/478 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience

If it was easy, I wouldn't be interested.

As global cuisines become more and more prevalent, the culinary world becomes more and more competitive, fueled largely by the growing need to provide those global cuisines to demanding and discerning consumers. That’s where our culinary school meets your future. Starting with fundamentals like knife skills, using kitchen tools, and developing culinary techniques, we’ll guide you through everything from basic cuts to managing a menu to working as part of a team. Each course builds on what you’ve had the opportunity to learn—and that curriculum includes more than 20 popular international cuisines, including Latin, Asian, and American Regional. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet our Alumni

  • Executive Chef Reynold Darthard

    Chef Reynold Darthard

    Culinary Arts , 2004

    Chef Rey is the proud and sole sponsor of $18,000 of tuition scholarships for Culinary students at The Art Institute of Houston. He wants to help passionate individuals like himself pursue their goals, regardless of their financial circumstances.

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    Chef Reynold Darthard
    From a young age, Chef Rey was interested in cooking, learning from his mother and grandmother. Yet, when it came time to attend college, he put his culinary passions aside and attended Texas A&M University. Upon graduation, he pursued a career in the oil and gas industry as an Operations Manager for Andon Specialties, Inc. 

    Yet, while Rey’s career in that industry heated up, his passion for cooking continued to burn even hotter. At the age of 37, he made the life-changing decision to enroll in the Culinary Arts, Associate of Applied Science Program at The Art Institute of Houston. He would go on to graduate with honors in 2004 and start the creation of his personal brand, “Chef Rey.” 

    After graduation, Chef Rey opened his own catering company, Nevele’s, where he had full culinary and creative control. Through his talents he was able and honored to give his gift of cooking to philanthropic causes like the National African-American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization, Texas Wildlife Association, Hope for Three, and many more. 

    Through Nevele’s he also had the opportunity to cook for celebrities and professional athletes. These connections directly led to the next steps in his culinary career where he became the head chef of a professional baseball team, a collaborative culinary innovator with a major restaurant chain, and even opened his own restaurant in Missouri City, TX. Today, he is proud to hold the title of Executive Chef to the Houston Rockets.

    Chef Rey has worked hard during his career and as a way of enjoying his successes, is giving back to The Art Institute of Houston community through a self-funded scholarship for under-privileged students who are passionate about Culinary. Because he knows personally what passion and opportunity can do for someone’s future. Read More...
  • The Art Institute of Houston alumni Brian Jones

    Brian Jones

    Culinary Arts , 2015

    "[My education] taught me how to be a balanced and well-rounded chef. I learned about the importance of attention to detail and consistency."

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    Brian Jones

    Brian Jones is a culinary assistant at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He assists in the presentation and preparation of food. “Every day begins and ends with a meeting to discuss events. Stations are assigned and expectations for each of us are given. Stations rotate regularly so that we are able to learn everything equally,” he says.

    Brian is excited to be a Disney cast member—a job he describes as “creating happiness.” “The fact that I am able to [make people happy] with food is what I’m most proud of.” He adds that his culinary inspiration is James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef, TV personality, and restaurateur Chef Michael Symon. Living and working at Disney World is also a major perk. “I get into all of the parks for free whenever I want and I experience Disney magic on a daily basis.”

    Brian, who in 2015 earned an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Houston, says his education taught him to be a balanced and well-rounded industry professional. “I learned about the importance of attention to detail and consistency.” Brian recommends that current students use fruits and vegetables that are in season and never stop practicing the basics. “The techniques you learn in your skills lab will go with you for your entire career.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/479 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • The Art Institute of Houston alumni Joe Pierzchajlo

    Joe Pierzchajlo

    Culinary Management , 2012

    "I love the fact that I am in the kitchen on a weekly basis but I am also traveling and meeting manufacturers or providing on-site catering."

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    Joe Pierzchajlo

    Joe Pierzchajlo is working as an executive chef for Green Plate Foods in Bellaire, TX. He’s responsible for new product research and development, managing the catering staff, and menu planning. Each week, Joe and his team create new products for taste testing—then they fine-tune products that have already been developed. He also meets with contract manufacturers to begin the process of having certain products commercialized for wider distribution.

    Joe is excited at the growth he’s experienced while at Green Plate Foods. When he joined the company, it was in transition. “One of [the new] goals was to take our top baked goods and produce them on a larger scale with the help of contract manufacturers. I helped lead this process and we now have around dozen items that being commercially produced and carried by food distributors like Sysco and sold in stores such as Whole Foods,” he says.

    Joe, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Management from The Art Institute of Houston, says that his education helped him to become a better cook and well-rounded culinary artist. The school’s chef instructors taught him the foundations of classical cooking, while his management classes helped him to gain an understanding of menu costing and accounting. “I love the fact that I am in the kitchen on a weekly basis but I am also traveling and meeting manufacturers or providing on-site catering.”

    See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/480 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...

What Will I Study?

Houston Student Working on an Assignment

This is my passion. This is my time.

There’s nothing easy about our Culinary Arts curriculum, which will immerse you in both traditional and emerging flavors from every corner of the world. You’ll cover a range of cuisines from Mexican to Middle Eastern as you study:

  • Culinary Techniques
  • Classical Techniques
  • Sanitation & Safety
  • Baking and Pastry Techniques
  • Management by Menu
  • Nutrition
  • Garde Manger
  • Foodservice Technology
  • Food & Beverage Operations Management
  • Planning & Controlling Costs
  • World Cuisine
  • American Regional Cuisine
  • Asian Cuisine
  • Latin Cuisine
  • A la carte Kitchen
  • Art Culinaire

I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institute of Houston, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Culinary Arts School is built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But along with that toughness comes all the support you’ll need at every step along the way. That’s why we provide the mentoring and real-world experience to help you prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field, along with opportunities to learn that go far beyond our kitchens. You’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

 

Meet our Faculty

  • Patrick Brunelli Guerra

    Patrick Brunelli-Guerra

    Culinary Arts

    "Never say that something is impossible. See every challenge as a new opportunity for you to grow even more."

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    Patrick Brunelli-Guerra

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I’ve always had a passion for cooking. When I was 13 I spent my summer vacation washing dishes at my uncle’s Italian restaurant. I was fascinated by how he prepared all these intriguing, delicious dishes. Two years later, I started a culinary apprentice in Switzerland.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I always combine the basic techniques with real-life examples from my experience as an executive chef. We end each class with a recap of techniques and cooking methods, then apply them to a situation in a restaurant kitchen. It helps students understand what’s expected of them once they graduate.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my Senior Culinary Practicum Class, I show students the final product, then work backwards and explain the steps it takes to get there. I don’t like to hand them all the answers on a silver platter; I want them to think for themselves.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Teamwork is absolutely essential. In my Senior Culinary Practicum, I engage students from Photography, Graphic & Web Design, and Interior Design to create a menu, do the marketing, and design a kitchen and dining room layout. It’s a great way for students to see the big picture.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Always be humble, learn as much as you can, and be open to others’ ideas.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Never say that something is impossible. See every challenge as a new opportunity for you to grow even more.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I firmly believe that partnering with international schools is very valuable for our students in terms of broadening their experience.

    Read More...
  • Graphic Design Instructor Zack Zwicky

    Zack Zwicky

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Work hard—and do it for yourself."

    Read More
    Zack Zwicky

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I'm not sure I've had that "defining moment," because I think of myself as someone who helps others realize their goals and potential, both through my own work and by helping students with theirs.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I give students straight talk, I bring real life clients into the classroom, and I take my students on field trips so that can actually see, touch, and smell the things our industry is made of. You can’t learn about a profession like this within the walls of a building. By experiencing those situations while in school, they learn to deal with a lot of the challenges they'll encounter once they graduate.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In Layout class, I have my students create a book about someone from a much different place—in terms of geography, religion, society, financial status, whatever. They interview that person to learn about things they've never experienced, then combine the written interview with original imagery to create a book that documents and explores the diverse world we live in.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    In my Art Direction class I like to have students from different programs work together. By the end of the class they've all learned something about each other’s craft, and they’re better prepared to work with others in the industry.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Believe in yourself. It’ll help you succeed when you don't feel you're up to the task at hand.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Work hard—and do it for yourself.

    Read More...
The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Sommer Bostick Working on game based training for the military has exposed me to things I never would be doing when I started at [The Art Institute of San Antonio]. Sommer Bostick
Media Arts & Animation, The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, 2014