Jump Start Your Career in Culinary

Apply to the CEC- Open to rising Juniors and Seniors

Do you love to cook or bake?

The hospitality industry employs more professionals than almost any other. In the US, the industry lands among the top three employers each year. Within the field, there is a staggering array of different jobs and a wide variety of work settings that employ people at resorts, restaurants, hotels, casinos, and essentially anywhere that people dine and lodge. Cooks and chefs also find work in a food service sector that is more institutional in nature and includes jobs at hospitals, schools, corporate facilities and municipal cafeterias.

Anyway you slice it, the field is ripe with opportunity for kitchen professionals who are eager to carve out a career niche with job security and boundless creative directions.

Early on, it helps to distill your culinary dreams into a manageable plan of attack that keeps your eye on the ball and defines your career direction. Education is available in any of the specialty hospitality areas that might draw you in. (Source- CulinarySchools.org)

Educational Options beyond High School

In general, there are 4 levels of chefs’ education that can be tackled in different ways.

  1. Certificate and Diploma programs are one-year vocational tracks that impart the kitchen basics and move you to immediate work as a line cook or other kitchen staffer.
  2. Associate’s Degrees provide the most common educational path for Culinary Arts professionals. They are two-year cooking programs that also require core competency in English, math and communication.
  3. Bachelor’s Degrees are four-year degrees issued by universities and standalone cooking schools. Culinary arts and Dietetics provide popular Bachelor’s curriculums.
  4. Master’s level study in the Culinary Arts is handled by the best-known culinary schools, in the form of intensive apprenticeships with master chefs.

Enrolling at the Culinary Education Center in High School will help you jumpstart your career by earning free College Credits.

You can earn your Associates Degree and/or Obtain Certificates through the Culinary Arts Program at Brookdale Community College.

The Culinary Education Center is a collaborative effort between Brookdale Community College and Monmouth County Vocational School District.

High School Program Description

The Culinary Education Center is a collaboration between Brookdale Community College and Monmouth County Vocational School District. The Culinary Education Center offers a comprehensive, innovative food preparation and management program of study to students. The high school curriculum is designed to provide entry-level workforce skills and while attending their home school and the Culinary Education Center our students are also have duel enrollment status with Brookdale Community College. Our students may choose from an extensive variety of courses of study (11 credits college credits). This will provide a seamless transition into the Brookdale Community College Culinary Program here at the Culinary Education Center. Our students can continue in the Culinary Arts Associate Degree program the fall semester following graduation. The facility offers state-of-the-art kitchens, lecture rooms, and computer/distance learning labs stressing the application of technologies for instruction as well as in the culinary industry. Trained on campus or in worksite locations with collaborative hotels and restaurants, students experience both school-run and work-site food service operations designed to prepare students for a career in the food service/hospitality industry.

High School Credits Earned

Level 1:

Culinary Arts 10 credits

Applied Culinary Math 5 credits

Sanitation and Safety 5 credits

Level 2:

Culinary Arts 10 credits

Applied Culinary Math 5 credits

Applied Science 5 credits

TOTAL: 40 Credits

Brookdale Community College:

Year 1:

Basic Food Preparation 1 CULA 111 3.0 credits

Basic Food Preparation II CULA 112 3.0 credits

Total Credits- 6 credits

Year 2:

Baking Skills CULA 151 3.0 credits

Dining Room CULA 141 2.0 credits

Total Credits- 5 credits


Certificates Upon Graduation

  • MCVSD Program Certificate
  • Serv-Safe Certification
  • NOCTI Certificate
  • Careersafe Certifications

Work-Based Learning Experiences

Bringing the culinary student into the workplace is a goal of the Culinary Education Center. Externships permit the student to work for an employer in a culinary related position for a specified period of time to learn about the food-service industry, and to further define and clarify their professional career goals. In the past educational collaboration with Seabrook Village resulted in the establishment of a unique and exemplary work based Culinary Training Program. The goal of this initiative was to unite occupational training instructors and mentors to co-teach at a work-based training site for the development of high academic and workplace technical training skills for culinary students.


  • Develop a variety of work based learning experiences to assist students in evaluating hospitality skills and interests.
  • Implement simulated and/or application activities using academic skills to solve daily problems found in the world of work. Academic and occupational instructors are infused into both school and the hotel work-site to teach culinary, academic and Tech-Prep courses directly relates to the food service industry.
  • Practice and reinforce workplace readiness skills needed for successful employment. Occupational simulations encourage learners to make decisions and identify solutions to real life, on-the- job problems. Life-long learning, teamwork, cooperation, and essential skills for living/working promote the development of workplace readiness skills while reinforcing applied, integrated academics.



  • Student must have an expressed interest in the Hospitality Industry. Uniforms are required.
  • Students must have a "C" grade point average
  • Student and parent should tour the program prior to application. This may be accomplished through attendance at an open house, orientation, teacher interview, tour with counselor, virtual tour or other means arranged with the principal.
  • It is recommended that students have taken General Biology or a Food Science


Program Skills And Tasks

  • Identification and use of kitchen equipment, tools, knives, herbs, fruit, vegetables, meats
  • Ability to prepare basic stocks, sauces, vegetables, starches, meats, dairy, fruit, desserts
  • Demonstrate food preparation skills: bake, boil, braise, fry, grill, roast, sauté, simmer, steam, stir fry
  • Read, prepare/measure ingredients and follow recipes
  • Application of food preparation skills through baking, breakfast, and lunch cookery
  • Ability to apply learned skills in a work-based learning environment
  • Demonstrate American and buffet dining room service
  • Practice sanitation and safety skills


Types of Chefs

To increase your mobility in the industry it is important to lay a solid technical base for your climb through the ranks. If you’re embarking on a culinary career, it’s important for you to understand the various positions commonly held by professional chefs. A clear view of where you’re going lets you set your sights on your kitchen dream job and never look back.

Executive Chef, also known by the term Chef de Cuisine, is the professional pinnacle to which many chefs aspire. Chef’s are kitchen managers so payroll, food-cost, personnel management, menu creation and essentially everything that happens in the kitchen falls within their scope of responsibility.

Sous Chef, or Assistant Chef, is the right-hand to the Executive Chef. Sous Chefs manage a staff of assistant chefs, cooks and kitchen workers, as well as creating dishes for the menu.

Senior Chef, formally called Chef de Partie, is assigned one particular menu specialty in which he or she excels. Senior Chef directs the prep work of kitchen staff and assistant cooks in his or her area.

Demi Chef is very similar to Senior Chef. Customarily this chef would specialize in one type of dish and perhaps direct the prep work of staff key to that specialty. A good example would be sushi chefs.

Pastry Chefs are responsible for creating chocolates, breads, and pastries that find their way to the dessert menu. They work in concert with bakers, chocolatiers and others dessert and pastry specialists. Pastry chef colleges focus on training for this delicious job option by offering pastry classes alongside traditional chef’s courses.

A simple distinction between chef and cook:

A chef is trained to master culinary forms, but also to provide creative innovation in menu, preparation and presentation.

A cook is trained to master forms of food preparation, but usually takes close direction from a chef.

Source- CulinarySchools.org

BROOKDALE'S CULINARY ARTS PROGRAM RANKED 9th IN NATION- Click picture to learn more about program

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Virtual tour of the Culinary Education Center

CareerTechNJ Data Sheet

The CareerTechNJ Data sheet below includes employer partnerships and student achievements along with updated information about demand, enrollment growth, graduation rates, credentials and more.

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The Culinary Education Center is a collaborative effort between Brookdale Community College and Monmouth County Vocational School District.