Frequently Asked Questions | The Culinary Arts Institute


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Question: What food items do you keep in the pantry at all times?

  • A good stock — whether homemade or premade — is the backbone of cooking.
  • Kosher salt and a peppermill — two of the most accessible ingredients to home cooks yet underutilized
  • Good olive oil — to finish food, dress a salad or pour over some good bread
  • Organic eggs — Eggs can either be the star of a dish or used to add body and viscosity to a sauce or soup.
  • Dried beans or lentils — Either in a soup or a stew or just on their own, when cooked with aromatics beans or lentils add sustenance.
  • Good-quality canned tomatoes — to make a quick sauce or to add depth to a dish
  • Rice — I like to keep Jasmine rice on hand but even basic white rice because there are so many things you can do with rice.
  • Garlic, onions and a few carrots — many uses and can stand up to many flavors
  • And finally, flour — to thicken a sauce, make pasta, coat a piece of meat

See all our FAQ below:

Q: What classes will I take?

A: Go to our Program Information page to see all the classes for each program.

Q: When will the hands-on classes start/do I have to take classes in a certain order?

A: Students do not have to take the classes for the culinary and baking/pastry programs in order. However, some classes at our culinary college require prerequisites. Classes at the CAI are offered at different times to meet the needs of busy students.

Q: How long will it take to earn an associate's degree in culinary arts or baking and pastry?

A: Most students complete an associate's degree in two years, certificates in one year. You need 67 credits for the associate's degree in culinary arts and 70 for the baking and pastry. Typically a student can take up to 15 credits per semester. Students can do their externship during the summer and/or take classes as well. So it's really up to you and your schedule.

Q: What if I like culinary and pastry arts — do I have to choose between them?

A: You can earn degrees or certificates in both areas. You can work on both sets of classes simultaneously, or earn one associate’s degree, and then the other. Only 21 credits are required between the two associate’s degrees.

Q: What kind of jobs do graduates tend to get?

A: This depends on you. What do you enjoy? What are your strengths? You could work for a small restaurant, a large corporate hotel, a college, school, hospital, or many other areas. See this explanation of specific culinary positions.