Culinary Arts Schools in St. Petersburg, FL with Degree Overviews

The St. Petersburg, FL, area has roughly four schools that offer culinary arts programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within 30 miles of downtown St. Petersburg to make an informed education decision.

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St. Petersburg Culinary Arts Programs

Students looking for culinary arts programs in the St. Petersburg, FL, area have a few options. Three schools, which are all 40 minutes or less from downtown, are highlighted in this article. Included near the end of the article is a table showcasing important school information, such as tuition and graduation rates, enrollment numbers and more. There is also a short section discussing another relevant school option.

  • Hillsborough Community College, which is 20.2 miles from downtown St. Petersburg, offers an Associate of Science/Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Management and an Associate of Science /Associate of Applied Science in Restaurant Management.
  • Situated 31.1 miles from downtown St. Petersburg in Bradenton, Manatee Technical Institute offers career preparation programs in baking and pastry arts and culinary arts/commercial foods.
  • Pinellas Technical Education Center, which is 5.3 miles from downtown, offers a commercial foods and culinary arts training program.

Hillsborough Community College

The Hospitality and Culinary Arts Department offers degree programs in culinary management, dietetics and restaurant management. Certificate programs are also available in food and beverage management, food and beverage operations, culinary arts and event planning. Through an articulation agreement with the University of Houston's Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, students who earn an Associate of Science degree in culinary or restaurant management can transfer their credits to the Bachelor of Science program in hotel and restaurant management.

Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Management

This 64-credit program emphasizes the financial, organizational and technical aspects of the industry and is designed to help students acquire the supervisory skills they need to work in commercial or institutional establishments. The curriculum includes 15 credit hours in general education, as well as courses in computer technology and speech. Major requirements are based upon a standard culinary arts curriculum and cover topics in food preparation and storage, cost control, menu planning and nutrition. Related coursework also gives future restaurant professionals a chance to study dining room service, hospitality and management.

A specialty course in baking provides students with a hands-on, industry-based approach to recipes, measures and weights. Through the course in garde manger, they can also learn how to prepare a variety of cold foods, including charcuterie (meats), garnishes, gelatins, mousses and pates. The curriculum also includes six food practicums, which are a combination of classroom and field experiences.

Along with the associate's, Hillsborough offers a 35-credit certificate program in culinary management, which provides largely the same curriculum as the degree program, excluding the general education courses and food practicums.

Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in Restaurant Management

This program offers similar content to the culinary management program and also requires 64 credits to complete. Its purpose is to provide students with the direct training they need to obtain administrative positions in a variety of establishments, including hotels and motels, catering, fast food services, bars or restaurants. The degree requirements do not include food practicums or a course in nutrition, but students have to take courses in event planning, hospitality law and hospitality merchandising.

Manatee Technical Institute

The Manatee Institute provides both adults and high school students who are at least 16 years old with career-oriented training, and most full-time programs take six to 18 months to complete. Admission requirements include the Florida Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and an interview. According to the school's website, approximately 23% of both baking and culinary arts students complete their training on time, and the placement rate for graduates of these programs was 69%.

Baking and Pastry Arts Career Preparation Program

This program requires 600 hours of training and is designed to prepare students for positions as entry-level bakers, bakery supervisors and pastry chefs. Hands-on training is offered in the safe and efficient preparation of breads, cookies and pastries, and students also learn how to make chocolates, custards and decorated cakes. In addition to competency in the kitchen, the program emphasizes communication, leadership and professionalism in the workplace environment.

Culinary Arts and Commercial Foods Career Preparation Program

This program requires 1,200 hours of training and includes a half-day schedule for high school students, after which they can transfer into the adult program. This is a hands-on course of study that emphasizes cooking terms, equipment and methods used in a commercial kitchen, and students can learn to prepare a variety of baked goods, meat products, salads, soups and vegetables. Graduates usually leave with the skills they need to enter the restaurant business as line or prep cooks and to progress within the industry.

Pinellas Technical Education Center - St. Petersburg

The admissions requirements at Pinellas are similar to those at the Manatee Technical Institute, though students who hold an associate's degree from an accredited college do not have to take the TABE test. Applicants must also be at least 16 years old, and those who are currently attending high school are not eligible to apply. The culinary arts program is offered at both the St. Petersburg and Clearwater campuses; however, according to the American Culinary Federation's website, the association only accredits the program in Clearwater.

Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts Program

This 4-part, 13-month program includes a 300-hour introductory course in food preparation that provides students with the training they need to earn their ServSafe certification from the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. The remaining three units each require 300 hours of classroom training and include topics associated with restaurant cooking and the culinary responsibilities of chefs and head cooks. Through the final course in food service management, aspiring culinary professionals have the opportunity to study advanced baking and cooking techniques and prepare ethnic and international dishes.

Pinellas has an articulation agreement with St. Petersburg College that allows students to transfer credits to relevant certificate and associate's degree programs.

Comparison of Schools

It can often be hard to choose the right college. The table below makes it easy to compare schools and make an informed decision.

Hillsborough Community College Manatee Technical Institute Pinellas Technical Education Center - St. Petersburg
School Type 2-year; public 2-year; public 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2011) 28,329* 1,714* 1,404*
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Midsized city
Tuition and Fees $2,423 for in-state students; $8,851 for out-of-state students (2011-2012)* $3,456 (2011-2012)* $5,725 for the total cost of program, including tools, supplies and books (no date)**
% of First-Year, Full-Time Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2010-2011) 80%* 55%* 72%*
Acceptance Rate (2011) N/A - open admissions* N/A - open admissions* N/A - open admissions*
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 62%* 77%* 90%*
Graduation Rate (students who enrolled in 2008) 29%* 70%* 67%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator, ** Pinellas Technical Education Centers.

Other School Option

In addition to the college and institutes listed above, DG Erwin Technical Center in Tampa offers a 14-month, full-time commercial foods and culinary arts program.

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • New York campus Ithaca
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services
        • Institutional Food Worker
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts campus Boston
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services
  • School locations:
    • Idaho campus Boise
    Areas of study you may find at Boise State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework, Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services
        • Chef Training
  • School locations:
    • California campus Chula Vista
    Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services
        • Catering and Restaurant Management
  • School locations:
    • Montana campus Missoula
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Montana include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services
        • Catering and Restaurant Management
        • Chef Training

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