May 16, 2022  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Culinary Arts, A.A.A.S.

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Academic Program Code: 151

GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education program grants students an Associate Degree of Applied Arts and Sciences and a ticket to an exciting career and great gateway to continuing degree opportunities. Our students receive intensive practical training in all aspects of food preparation and presentation and are prepared to step into any culinary venue, including the increasingly popular role of personal or private chef. We accomplish this through applied courses in baking and pastry, catering and banquet organization, classical and American regional cookery, dining room service, and restaurant operations.  Each student experiences an education that has an added focus on hands-on training, practical training, and real life experiences.

General Education Courses

Select a minimum of 15 credit hours of course work from the General Education Course list.  Course work must be selected as directed from the areas below.

English Composition and Communications


Select one (1) Humanities General Education Elective.

Social Sciences

Select one (1) Social Sciences General Education Elective.

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Select one (1) Natural Sciences Lab/Non Lab General Education Elective or one (1) Mathematics General Education Elective.

General Education Total Credit Hours

15 (minimum)

Program Notes

See for specific course sequencing.

Total Credit Hours


In What Order Should I Take Classes?

Please select courses from the Priority I list.  Select courses based on the number of credits you are taking in the semester, for example, if you are a part time student you do not have to take all of the courses listed.  If you are unable to schedule Priority I courses, move to and select from the list of Priority II, Priority III, and Priority IV courses.

Priority I Priority II

CA 102 - Exploration of the Food Service Industry  

CA 104 - Bakery  

CA 105 - Culinary Arts Skill Development  

CA 111 - Restaurant Sanitation and Safety  

CA 209 - Principles of Food Science  

EN 101 - English Composition I  

CA 112 - Menu Planning and Nutrition  

CA 114 - International Food Production  

CA 115 - Table Service  

CA 200 - Hospitality Management  

CA 233 - Beer, Wine, and Spirits Management  


CA 180 - Culinary Internship    
Priority III Priority IV

CA 204 - Pastry  

CA 205 - Garde Manger, Meat Fabrication, and Banquets   

CA 213 - Food Purchasing and Cost Control  

EN 102 - English Composition II  OR

COM 131 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking  OR

COM 135 - Interpersonal Communication  

Social Sciences General Education - Elective   

CA 224 - Bakery/Deli Operations  OR

CA 245 - Restaurant Management and Leadership  

CA 244 - Modern American Cuisine   

Humanities General Education - Elective    

Nat Sci Lab/Non Lab General Education - Elective  OR

Mathematics General Education - Elective  

NOTE: This priority schedule assumes the student is prepared to take the courses listed. If prerequisites are required, additional semesters may be required to complete this degree.

Meet with an Academic Program Advisor and consult My Degree Path for specific degree requirements.

Essential Abilities/Technical Standards

The Grand Rapids Community College Secchia Institute for Culinary Education faculty has specified essential abilities and technical standards critical to the success of students in any GRCC Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry Arts, and Personal Chef Program. Students must demonstrate these essential abilities to succeed in their program of study. Qualified applicants are expected to meet all admission criteria and matriculating students are expected to meet all progression criteria, as well as these essential abilities and technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations.

I. Essential judgment skills to include: ability to identify, assess, and comprehend the potentially dangerous situations within the culinary arts production facility (such as hot liquids, fire, sharp knives, slippery floors, large machinery, etc.) for the purpose of problem solving around these conditions and coming to appropriate conclusions and/or course of actions.

II. Essential physical/neurological functions to include: ability to use the senses of seeing, hearing, touch, and smell to make correct judgments: Specifically, the use of sensory and physical functions includes:


  • Far: Ability to see clearly objects at a far distance (20 feet or more). Corrective lenses permissible.
  • Near: Ability to see clearly printed material at close range (12 inches or less).  Corrective lenses permissible.
  • Other: Ability to distinguish between and among colors. Ability to exercise depth perception to determine space and distance relationships. Ability to exercise peripheral vision to be aware of objects within a large area while eyes are focused on one object.


  • Ability to hear in one or both ears so that verbal communication can be received, understood, and acted upon in either a face-to-face or a telecommunications basis.
  • A culinarian must be able to hear communicated orders and warnings such as those needed to direct production or call out dangerous situations such as carrying hot liquids or sharp knives.


  • Ability of tongue taste buds to distinguish between and among flavors, spices, temperature and mouth feel (smoothness, pungency, etc.) of food and beverages.


  • Ability of olfactory nerves to distinguish between and among odors and scents as to their appeal and level of intensity.


  • Ability to express oneself verbally with clarity on either a face-to-face or a telecommunications basis.


  • Ability of body parts, usually fingers and hands to ascertain the texture of objects or commodities such as smooth/coarse, sharp/dull, as well as temperature, stability, etc.

Physical and mobility functions include:

  • Mobility: Ability to move expeditiously around the dining room, kitchen, and storage areas for up to five hours at a time.
  • Walking: Ability to exert a reasonably paced mobility from one point to another within a generally accepted time-frame, and recognizing the conditions of the environment as to breadth/narrowness, clutter, etc.
  • Bending: Ability to move and control one’s torso so items can be picked up from a lower surface level.
  • Kneeling: Ability to flex legs at the knee so that the individual can lower the body coming to rest on one or both knees.
  • Handling: Ability to grasp, hold, set down, redirect with hands or fingers, turn, control and manipulate objects and commodities with both upper extremities.
  • Fingering: Ability to control and utilize fingers in a dexterous and coordinated manner for such activities as writing, typing, keyboarding, slicing, chopping, operating equipment, etc. with both upper extremities.
  • Reaching: Ability to stretch body, and extend arms to place or secure objects and commodities at a distance above, to the side of, or below the normal standing level of the individual.
  • Squatting: Ability to flex legs at the knees to lower body position.
  • Crawling: Ability to move about on hands and knees and/or feet by mobilizing those body parts.
  • Lifting: Ability to use body parts, usually arms and hands (occasionally shoulders and back) to elevate an object or commodity above its previous surface level. Must have the ability to lift pots, pans, etc., up to 40 pounds in weight.
  • Climbing: Ability to ascend steps, ladders and other vertical and semi-vertical surfaces to reach a higher level and meet physical expectations to perform required interventions for the purpose of demonstrating competence to safely engage in the practice of Culinary Arts. Behaviors that demonstrate essential neurological and physical functions include, but are not limited to observation, listening, understanding relationships, writing, and psychomotor abilities consistent with course and program expectations.
  • Repetitive Motions: Ability to use body parts on a regular and continuing basis to repeat the same motions for a reasonable period of time without resting.
  • Stooping: Ability to flex legs at the knees and move the upper body forward and down.
  • Standing: Ability to stand for several hours at a time. Must be able to stand and exert well-placed mobility for periods of up to five hours in length.

III. Essential communication skills to include: ability to communicate effectively with fellow students, faculty, guests, and all members of the culinary arts.  Skills include verbal, written, and nonverbal abilities as well as information technology skills consistent with effective communication.

A culinarian must be able to communicate both orally and in writing with other culinarians and clients. Working as a culinarian also requires knowledge of communication through body language. Profanity, including coarse language, is never appropriate and possible consequences include daily lab grade reduction and/or a reduction in a course grade.

IV. Essential emotional coping skills: ability to demonstrate the mental health necessary to safely engage in the practice of culinary arts as determined by professional standards of practice.

V. Essential intellectual/conceptual skills to include: ability to measure, calculate, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate to engage competently in the safe practice of culinary arts.

VI. Other essential behavioral attributes: ability to engage in activities consistent with safe culinary  arts practice without demonstrated behaviors of addiction to, abuse of, or dependence on alcohol or other drugs that may impair behavior or judgment. The student must demonstrate responsibility and accountability for actions as a student in the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education and as a developing professional in the culinary arts consistent with accepted standards of practice.

Grand Rapids Community College strives to be more than ADA compliant. We strive to be accessible and welcoming to all students of all abilities. After reviewing the Essential Abilities/Technical Standards for this program; your responsibilities as a student entail determining if you can complete all associated coursework either:

A. With Accommodation. I am otherwise qualified to meet the same academic standards as any other student entering the program. However, based on a medically documented condition or diagnosis, I would qualify for reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990). I will meet with Disability Support Services on campus to arrange those accommodations in an interactive process with the department of culinary arts.

​B. Without Accommodation. I am able to complete the program without need for reasonable accommodation or modification. In the event my medical documentation reveals otherwise or a condition manifests that would necessitate an accommodation; it is my responsibility to inform a responsible authority figure within the department of culinary arts and work with Disability Support Services to see if a reasonable accommodation or modification can be made.

If you have a medically documented condition or diagnosis, please contact Disability Support Services (DSS) at or by phone at 616.234.4140 to arrange accommodations through our interactive process.

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