Online Culinary Degree Programs

Culinary

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The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

Bring your talent to the table.

If you want to enrich the world with your talent for creating amazing cuisine—or ambience—start by learning everything from kitchen skills to international flavors.

Program Areas

Online Culinary Management

Culinary Management

Prepare to run both the kitchen and the front of the house, using your passion for food and your head for business to create a memorable dining experience.

Online Hospitality Management Degree

Hospitality Food & Beverage Management

You can learn your way around both the front and back of the house while you prepare for the challenge of bringing something new to the table for demanding consumers.

Ai students welcomed at The James Beard House

Six culinary students from The Art Institutes system of schools assisted in the preparation of Thanksgiving Day dinner at New York City’s prestigious James Beard House. Learn more about how they earned this opportunity and what they hope to have learned from their five days of immersion in the Big Apple’s culinary scene.

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Meet Our Faculty

  • Gazelle Samizay

    Gazelle Samizay

    Digital Photography

    "Try your best, and have confidence in your voice."

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    Gazelle Samizay

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

    I knew I was an artist when I was three, and I always gravitated toward the craft projects in preschool.

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

    I teach practices common in the workplace to make sure my students are able to write professionally and express their ideas visually through the art of photography.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I respect the energy and money students have committed to their education. And students can see that respect in how I hold them to professional standards and encourage them to do their best. I offer individual feedback to help each student improve their work according to their own abilities. I also consistently provide outside learning resources to support their efforts.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Student collaboration typically happens in the form of peer feedback. I remind students that their voices and opinions matter—and make a difference to other students.

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

    Try your best, and have confidence in your voice.

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

    Don’t give up on yourself, and work your hardest.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    It’s important to me that students not only build their creative skills in photography, but also learn critical thinking skills they can apply to their own lives.

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  • Emadene Travers

    Emadene Travers

    Culinary Management

    "Always be professional."

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

    As an attorney. I discuss relevant legal principles as they apply to the hospitality industry. This is actually a multi-disciplinary approach that also includes marketing and management. There are a lot of legal considerations with respect to hotel and restaurant operations. The industry faces legal challenges every day, so I try to prepare students for that.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    There’s an assignment in Culinary 327 where students research an article on a technology topic. I provide the topics, which change from time to time; they’re timely and relevant, and represent cutting-edge concerns like big data, Cloud computing, and the Internet of things. It’s one of my favorite assignments because it makes students think about things they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

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

    A sense of personal responsibility, punctuality, and thoroughness in all their course work.

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


    Always be professional. Do your best, keep learning, keep trying, and have an open mind. Read More...
  • Erikk Ross

    Erikk Ross

    Web Design & Interactive Media

    "Never stop growing, never stop learning."

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    Erikk Ross

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

    My father encouraged my brother and me to use the household computer when we were growing up. He taught me how to use the boot settings and memory configuration to install and play video games. That sparked my growing interest in programming and design.In high school, I took a media arts class and started to use Photoshop and Illustrator to create digital art. I enrolled at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where I combined my love for computers and my interest in digital media to launch my career as a web developer.

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

    I manage a small team focused on web development, database administration, and geographic information systems administration for Lake County, Florida. We build advanced web applications that help streamline processes. My team recently finished a web-based application that tracks sales tax revenue. That’s one example of the real-world experiences I share with my students. I stay up to date on the latest trends in web design and development to help prepare them for what’s coming next.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I’ve had the opportunity to write several classes in the Graphic & Web Design program area, including Introduction to Programming. Many students are a bit leery of the word “programming,” but they relax once they see how the material is set up for their success. Through guided exercises and detailed lectures, they’re are introduced to basic programming concepts via lectures, guided walkthroughs, or video tutorials. 

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    That’s the way most companies and workplaces operate, so we make sure that students from various disciplines work with each other on a range of assignments and projects. This experience of leaning on each other adds value to their education and helps prepare them for the real world.

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

    With confidence in your work and the drive to do more, and you’ll succeed.

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

    Job offers rarely come to you, so put yourself and your work out there. Have a professional online portfolio and resume. Never stop growing, never stop learning.

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  • Gabi Etenberg

    Gabi Etenberg

    Digital Photography

    "Believe in yourself and in your work."

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    Gabi Etenberg

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

    At age 13, after reading Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, I felt inspired to create visual artwork.

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

    I use the experience I’ve accumulated in my career to introduce real-life situations and construct scenarios that students can relate to as they begin to understand and anticipate their future as graduates and professionals. My feedback always includes tips, suggestions, and guidance to give them a broader perspective on the real world.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    Sometimes students are shy about working with life models for portraiture, or hesitant to put themselves in “director mode” in setting up a photo session. I make sure to guide them through the process and help them start to feel comfortable with the role.

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

    Perseverance, patience, and professionalism.

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

    Believe in yourself and in your work—and in the value of your degree and the things you’ve learned.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I get enormous satisfaction from being able to help my students achieve their goals.

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  • Effi Karakaidos, MFA

    Effi Karakaidos, MFA

    Digital Photography

    "Never stop learning."

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    Effi Karakaidos, MFA

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

    It was being one of only a handful of high school students (out of more than 2000) invited to join the advanced placement art class.

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

    I incorporate my professional background and experience into the coursework every day. The importance of deadlines, developing a distinct personal voice and style, and the ability to adapt to various situations are among the skills I work to instill in my students.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    When teaching portfolio courses, I ask students to assemble their very best work. I help these emerging photographers identify their strengths and weaknesses so they can put their best foot forward when launching their professional careers.

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

    Working with other creatives plays a large role in student and professional success. As internship coordinator for the Photography program, I’m able to guide interns through collaborative, real-world ventures with their employers.

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

    Never stop learning.

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  • VisualDesign

    Dr. Natalie Hruska

    Graphic & Web Design

    "It's all about the journey and where you end up... which might not be what you had in mind."

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    Dr. Natalie Hruska

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

    I’d had a variety of jobs—from landscaper to data entry to tour guide. But I always knew I had a creative energy that couldn’t be quelled. Some bosses were kind enough to let me use my artistic side on occasion, but I always knew I needed more.

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


    I don’t promise students anything. It’s all about the journey and where you end up—which might not be what you had in mind. I tell them to spend time volunteering in their industry. The benefits are enormous—you add references, gain skills, grow your network, and open doors to new and unexpected opportunities.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I like the first assignments in every class, where students have to come up with an idea for their projects. There‘s so much competition online now, and a world of opportunity to do something better, find a niche market, and beat that competition. So I encourage students to think of something completely unique—a website, app, kiosk, animation, something nobody’s ever done. It makes the project more about the student than just getting a grade.

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

    When students work as part of a team, they get valuable experience before they enter the real world. Working on a project team as a designer, developer, project manager, or any other role lets them test the waters without having to commit for the long term. I’ve led a few special projects classes, and when it works—when you have a good team—it’s magical.

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

    I ask students to think back to when they were kids...when every summer day was a story waiting to happen. I think work, school, and life should still feel that way...have the same passion and excitement. When I ask students to think about their project ideas, I share this quote...

    "The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood."

    —Sir Richard Burton

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  • Ashley Fessler

    Ashley Fessler

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Be an independent problem solver."

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    Ashley Fessler

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

    I got into design because my seventh grade band teacher told my mom that I was tone deaf. He also said that he always saw me doodling...so I should switch to art. My parents sold my clarinet and set me on a more creative path.

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

    I draw on my 20+ years of experience to make the learning as real as possible. I own a freelance design company, where I’m responsible for the entire the creative process—finding work, negotiating contracts, day-to-day client interaction, and designing. I share my design work with students, ask them to think about where they see themselves in the field, and urge them to start thinking in terms of how design is more than just creating pieces—it’s a business.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I love teaching Identity Design. It’s a wonderful project where students create a logo design for a client, from start to finish. The client is a small business of their choosing, in their area. They get a chance to see a project through from start to finish and experience reaching out to clients. It’s a real eye-opener for them, and I love watching them gain confidence in themselves as designers.

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

    Designers typically work with copywriters, editors, back-end web and technology specialists, illustrators, and other professionals. Very rarely can designers work through a project without the help of others. I make sure my students understand that early on.

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

    Be an independent problem solver. I still come across challenges and problems with every project I take on. It’ll be up to you as the designer to navigate those challenges and solve those problems.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Not every student has the same goals. I try to help them figure out where they see themselves, gain confidence in their creative decisions, and take ownership of their path to success.

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  • Karen Chapman

    Karen Chapman

    Advertising

    "Every project is a chance to showcase your ability."

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    Karen Chapman

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

    I’ve been passionate about art and creativity from a very young age. When I was approaching college, I realized I advertising was a field where I could put my creativity on display every day.

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

    I share my own industry experiences, current trends, changes in communication, and other developments with students. Sharing all this with students helps broaden their perspectives.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring—and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    In my Advertising Copywriting course, students create written content for radio, print, and TV. As they review current media trends, conduct client research, and examine their target audience, I challenge students to go beyond their initial ideas and take their thinking the next level. Sometimes students surprise themselves with a level of creativity they didn’t know they had.

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

    Always strive for your best work. Every project is a chance to showcase your ability.

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

    This field is very competitive. If you fail to meet the client's expectations, there are 20 people waiting for their chance.

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  • Krista Atkins Nutter

    Krista Atkins Nutter, LEED, AP, MS, Arch, NCIDQ

    Interior Design

    "In the interior design profession, deadlines aren't negotiable."

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    Krista Atkins Nutter, LEED, AP, MS, Arch, NCIDQ

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

    I’ve been creative all my life, whether through music, theater, fine arts, or design.

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


    I use examples from my professional career to reinforce and supplement classroom discussion. I tend to teach courses that closely align with my professional experience, such as Sustainable Design.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?


    I’m particularly proud of an assignment I wrote for INTA312 Global Design, where students design a prototype for a temporary/mobile refugee shelter. I believe in volunteerism and community service, so I was happy to see that included in our curriculum.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Teamwork is paramount to interior designers, who work with engineers, architects, vendors, contractors, and skilled tradespeople. In sustainable design especially, integrated design teams are essential in ensuring that the design meets energy efficiency and performance criteria.

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


    Organizational skills, punctuality, and meeting deadlines may seem like just a list of soft skills to add to a resume. But in the interior design profession, deadlines aren’t negotiable. not meeting a deadline could cost commercial clients thousands of dollars in lost revenue. That’s why I stress the importance of building good, professional habits now.

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  • Online Game Art & Design Instructor DaShawn Hall

    DaShawn Hall

    Game Art & Design

    "It's just not about a 4.0 GPA. It's about truly learning the techniques and producing the best work possible."

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    DaShawn Hall

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

    I’ve always been a creative person. I started to draw at a very early age, and I always wanted to create comic books. I got into publishing in my freshman year of college, which led to working in fine arts—sculpture and watercolor—and traditional animation, and from there to the fairly new medium of 3D animation. The complexity of that was really exciting to me.

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

    My background is pretty diverse. I started out as a pre-med student, then switched my minor to Fine Arts. I ended up spending more time in the studio than the science labs so I can relate to students looking to change careers, along with those who have a passion to be in the industry. I encourage them to network, show their work to industry professionals, and get as much feedback as possible.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I think the final projects in each course I teach are great ways to show students exactly what they’ll be facing in the real world. Presentation is the key to be success in the industry, and the final project teaches students to keep working until they’ve created the presentation that best showcases their final project.

    What are the benefits of teaching an online course?

    It’s a very different way of interacting with students. I'm able to really push my students to a professional level. Due to the accelerated nature of online courses, the projects I assign demand the same time management skills that students will need to be successful in the industry.

    What are the benefits of an online education for students?

    The online programs help students learn time management. Also, I think studying online can work better for non-traditional students because they often want to further their career or make a career change.

    What are the most student-friendly features of an online education?

    And with so much digital technology available now—and so much more being developed every day—students are encouraged to use all of that technology to the fullest.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?


    Collaboration is how the industry works. I love projects and courses that foster teamwork, because they teach students not only about working in groups, but how to manage their time.

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

    The more you work on a project to polish the presentation, but better the artwork will turn out. And the more you practice the techniques, the quicker you’ll master them.

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

    I think the main challenge students have is learning from failure. It’s just not about a 4.0 GPA. It’s about truly learning the techniques and producing the best work possible.

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  • Online Media Arts & Animation Instructor Deborah Baxtrom

    Deborah Baxtrom

    Media Arts & Animation

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    Deborah Baxtrom

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

    There were several. As far back as I can remember I was writing and illustrating stories. When I was about 13, I decided I wanted to work in visual media, primarily in films, either as a screenwriter or director. In my senior year of high school, I took a creative writing class. My instructor’s encouragement and praise gave me the confidence to try to make my dreams a reality.

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

    I share my own experiences as they relate to the subject to add a real-world context. And any time a student doesn’t seem to see the value in a particular assignment or skill set, I let them know why it matters in the field they plan to enter. That usually helps students focus on the material.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching, mentoring, and pushing your students beyond their own perceived limits?

    I find that when creating stories, many students focus on the plot at the expense of character development; they tend to create characters like the ones they've seen before. But when I ask what draws them to certain stories, whether in a game or animation, they almost always mention the characters. I use this approach to push them toward developing characters that are unique.

    What are the benefits of teaching an online course?

    For me the most important benefit is flexibility. I'm also a working writer, so teaching online allows me to attend meetings and events, and also make time each day for writing. I can answer students' questions and help them work through issues more frequently online rather than just once or twice a week, as I would in a classroom setting.

    What are the benefits of an online education for students?

    Most of my students have other responsibilities just like I do, and studying online means they can earn an income and raise a family while still pursuing their education. It also cuts back on the time, stress, and expense of commuting to an on-ground campus.

    What are the most student-friendly features of an online education?

    Creative students tend to enjoy working independently, and an online education allows them that freedom. They can work on projects and attend class at their own pace throughout the week. They can create and share art, videos, and other work online with relative ease. And they don't need to work around someone else's schedule. I know some people who do their best work late at night, while others prefer early morning. Without the stress of commuting, students can focus on their projects whenever and however they like, knowing they can instantly share their work when they're ready.

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

    I stress originality. There’s so much redundancy in visual stories and characters these days. I tell students that original stories and characters will set them apart from the competition.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Each student is at a different place in their academic and creative journey. I try to help them reach their own personal next level of success, rather than expecting each to achieve the same level of quality in their work.

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  • Online Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing Instructor Sheena Gao

    Sheena Gao

    Fashion Marketing & Management

    "Like any creative field, the fashion industry is highly dynamic. Be comfortable with yourself and be flexible with change. Ride the creative wave."

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    Sheena Gao

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

    There were many moments…the first time I saw the world as a child. The first time I picked up a colored pencil to draw the sun. Seeing my parents’ architecture designs. Being awed by the images of National Geographic and mesmerized by the sound of a symphony. I never doubted my passion for creativity.

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

    Rather than relying just on traditional lecture, I try to bring real-life scenarios and challenges into the classroom to help students get a well-rounded understanding of the creative process. They not only gain the knowledge of the subject, but also gain industry-relevant experience. It’s an interactive experience that’s a fun and effective way to learn.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I believe in learning by doing. I teach a fashion class called Research and Sourcing Fundamentals. I send students to the garment district after they complete their research, so they can have their designs made by one of the manufactures after all criteria are met. It’s scary for students to go face-to-face with garment industry professionals, but the process gives students the confidence having real-world knowledge. They not only learn the theory, they understand critical things like timeline and communication challenges, quality control, cost control, and specification accuracy.

    What are the benefits of teaching an online course?

    It allows me to share my industry experience and expertise with students across the nation.

    What are the benefits of an online education for students?

    Working online gives anyone who wants to pursue a higher education the flexibility to do so in the comfort of their own home and on their own schedule.

    What are the most student-friendly features of an online education?

    Online classes encourage students to think and learn independently, and give them the freedom to explore their creative spirit. Those students not only learn the course material, they develop more complex problem-solving skills.

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

    We never work in vacuum in the fashion industry; we work with people from many backgrounds. Most of my classes feature team collaboration projects where students learn to work as a team, when to compromise, how to communicate with team members, to put aside their egos to achieve a team goal. It’s all about keeping your eye on the big picture, and it’s key to being successful the profession.

    What’s your one piece of advice for a student embarking on a creative career?

    Like any creative field, the fashion industry is highly dynamic. Be comfortable with yourself and be flexible with change. Ride the creative wave.

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