Culinary Arts & Hospitality

Learn more about the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Department at ECC!

Earning an Associate Degree at Elgin Community College can set your career in motion.

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Do you love cooking, baking, and using your artistic/creative skills to make people happy? A Culinary Arts career may be perfect for you!  The award-winning Culinary Arts program at ECC offers three areas of study: Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, and Hospitality Management.  Some of our graduates work in well-known establishments, including restaurants, bakeries, resorts, country clubs, chocolate shops, hotels, and casinos. Start your journey to becoming a Culinary Arts professional!

Apply to ECC and explore Restaurant Management. Gain comprehensive industry knowledge, develop technical skills, and benefit from smaller class sizes for personalized attention. ECC's state-of-the-art culinary equipment and expert faculty ensure a quality learning experience. All degrees include hands-on internships with local operations supervised by ECC culinary faculty. 

Elgin Community College is a top culinary, pastry, and hospitality program in the Midwest with smaller class sizes and more contact hours, giving you more one-on-one time with expert faculty in our professional commercial-grade labs using the latest equipment. Get additional information, including course listings and class descriptions.

Interested in a tour of our culinary program facilities? Fill out this form, and we will contact you with some options for dates of our upcoming tours. 

Planning to Transfer?  Learn more about earning a Bachelor’s degree, earning summer credits for transfer, or dual admissions with a university by making an appointment with an academic advisor.

Prepare for Immediate Employment

The future employment outlook for Culinary Arts and Hospitality is positive. This is due to the increasing demand for diverse and unique dining experiences. This increase is due to an increase in travel and tourism and the need for managers to oversee and coordinate food service operations in hotels, restaurants, and other establishments. Refer to Career Coach for more information regarding related occupations and compensation.

Median Pay Rates


Plan of Study and Course Descriptions

Review the ECC catalog for details about the culinary arts and hospitality plan of study and course descriptions.

Are you looking for a food sanitation course for people in the food service industry? Visit the "Food and Beverage" Continuing Education course Serving Safe Food. English or Spanish

Associate of Applied Science

Vocational Certificates

Basic Vocational Certificates

Getting a Job as a Restaurant Manager

The hospitality field is a growth industry. Jobs for restaurant managers and beverage professionals will grow by 10% by 2031, faster than the average rate. Restaurants, hotels, school cafeterias, and pubs offer these jobs to graduates. 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Food Service Managers, (accessed July 20, 2023). See details about the salary and job opportunities for a career in food service on the ECC Career Coach site.

Chefs and Bakers are in Demand

You can expect higher-than-average job opportunities for an executive chef, sous chef, or pastry chef. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that culinary program graduates will see projected job growth of 15 percent by 2031. Jobs as pastry cooks, cake decorators, or bakers making loaves of bread and pastries will grow by 10 percent during the same period.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chefs and Head Cooks and Bakers, (accessed July 20, 2023). See details about the salary and job opportunities in this creative career field in the culinary arts on the ECC Career Coach site.

Culinary skills you'll learn in the program:

  • knife skills, using flavorings, herbs, and spices, mise-en-place, egg cookery, foundational cooking methods, preparation of stocks, sauces, vegetables, starches, and healthy cooking 
  • culinary techniques for preparing cured and smoked foods, sausage production, terrines and pâtés, cheeses, and hot and cold hors d'oeuvres to develop your style 
  • business skills to make smart purchasing decisions as a chef to run the day-to-day operations of a kitchen
  • artisan yeast bread, show-stopper multi-tiered cakes, pies, baked custards, and tarts, plus European and advanced pastries and tortes and European cake decorating and ice cream
  • patisserie and confection skills such as sugar pulling, sugar casting, chocolate centerpieces, chocolate boxes, marzipan
  • National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ServSafe Certification

Hospitality skills you'll learn at ECC:

  • hospitality and tourism supervisor skills in planning, organizing, and staffing, management techniques to run a business
  • basic costing concepts for food, beverage, and labor control system, analysis methods, and correction
  • beverage management as a complement to food with a deep dive into equipment and bar setup, mixology, beer, wine, and spirits
  • understanding alcohol law and serving alcohol responsibly
  • menu strategy and design, pricing, advertising, and merchandising in a modern restaurant or other food service facility
  • principals of culinary math, food costing and purchasing, pricing, and storing you need to understand as a successful food service operator
  • hands-on internship opportunities with local restaurants under the supervision of an ECC culinary faculty member