Pikes Peak Community College’s culinary program
evolves to meet students’ needs.
By robert Hudson, CEC, CCE
above: Students in Pikes
Peak Community College’s
wedding cake class.
opposite left: Harvest from
the school’s community
garden goes to its culinary
program and students in need.
opposite right: In 2008, the
school’s Culinary Arts Club
built a community garden on
a vacant area of the campus.
A common myth about culinary students is that they will be chefs once they graduate.
Most chefs agree it takes years of
experience in different kitchens and
working with various foods and
menus to gain the skills needed to
become an executive chef or working
chef in a kitchen. Culinary training
is a great way to start the process,
but it is just the beginning. And,
there are many training options.
Some students enter apprenticeship
programs, others attend proprietary
institutions, and still others enroll
in technical or community colleges.
Each path is unique and offers
At Pikes Peak Community College,
Colorado Springs, Colo., the school’s
culinary program has altered its goal
in recent years. It went from aiming to
produce chefs to focusing on training
students who are employable.
The college’s foodservice management
program started in the late 1960s
when most people wanted to go
into management. Those who were
interested in cooking often opted for
apprenticeship programs. In 2000,
the school began to see a massive shift
in enrollment—the management
program enrollment dropped to
extremely low levels, and interest in
cooking was on the rise. In 2003, the
school started a certificate program in
culinary arts. The program grew from
one certificate with 10 students to three
degrees and four specialized program
certificates, with nearly 500 students.
The culinary program earned
accreditation through the American
Culinary Federation Education
Foundation (ACFEF) in 2005.
Students can now choose from an
AAS Culinary Arts degree, AAS B
aking and Pastry degree, AAS
Food Service Management degree,
Culinary Basic Skills certificate,
Culinary One Year certificate, Baking
certificate or Management certificate.
Classes are taught by 11 faculty
members, each with more than 15
years of industry experience.