Program Starts Annually in September
The Santa Fe Culinary Academy’s Professional Culinary Program is designed to prepare students for a future in the food service industry. Our approach embraces relevant, long-standing methodology and Classical French Technique as a foundation for modern procedures. Contemporary practices and a holistic approach to understanding prevailing food trends and present-day restaurant styles informs this experiential program. Our core curriculum is based on the principle of ‘learning by doing.’ Students in each cohort spend six hours a day in demonstration, hands-on lab, and externship modules, working on and off-site in nearly every capacity within a modern food service operation. The SFCA also stresses the importance of sustainability within the individual as well as the environment that supplies it.
The program begins with a four-week intensive known as ‘Boot Camp.’ Students receive certification in sanitation and safe food handling as well as testing to be a licensed alcohol server in the State of New Mexico. Chef instructors lead the students through basic cooking methods, product identification and proficiency in using professional kitchen equipment.
Weeks five through twelve start our First Rotation on the fundamentals of pastry, garde manger and à la carte cookery as participants move into the laboratory kitchens and continue their hands-on training.
After a one-week break, students begin the Second Rotation, which centers on running the student restaurant. Each cohort rotates through the four departments; À la Carte, Garde Manger, Pastry and Dining Room where they are responsible for all aspects of the restaurant’s operations and lunch service.
The Second Rotation also ushers in the start of the students’ weekly externships and electives. Every week for the remainder of the program, participants’ extern in a local food service establishment or attend a chosen elective class. Our partnering properties include restaurants, hotels, bakeries, community food programs, farmer’s markets and even local farms. Student externs learn to work effectively in multiple scenarios, studying different styles of service from casual to fine dining, and from the kitchen to the front-of-house.
Starting with the Third Rotation the students advance to the PM classes. This initiates with running the SFCA student restaurant’s more formal, complex and challenging dinner service. Participants continue to hone their skills in the advanced modules of À la Carte, Garde Manger, Pastry and Dining Room.
The Fourth Rotation focuses on the professional development of our students. They receive instruction on restaurant accounting, marketing and personnel management.
The Restaurant Project Final challenges student groups to design their own restaurant. This project includes everything from menu development and food costing to marketing and design plans. A panel of professionals from the restaurant community selects the winners, and as a team the cohort installs the concept into the Student Restaurant’s modular facility. This includes everything from menu and pricing to design and marketing. The cohort then runs the restaurant for the remainder of the program and evaluates their success.
Our one-year Professional Culinary Program prepares students to embark on a culinary voyage with the right tools in their possession. The versatile nature of our curriculum and low student-to-teacher ratio help create a learning environment that exceeds the needs of a broad range of individuals. After graduation, the SFCA will be an ally and resource for our alumni as they follow their culinary calling.