The Culinary Institute of America to offer college-level courses to HISD culinary students

The Houston Independent School District and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) announced an educational partnership Friday at Westside High School that will allow students in the culinary arts program to earn a semester of college credit from a world-renowned culinary college.

“HISD is excited to announce a new relationship with The Culinary Institute of America that will feed into the passion our culinary arts students have for cooking and give them more hands-on culinary experience and skills to  prepare them for college and a career,” said HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier.

Beginning next school year, about 50 juniors and seniors in Westside’s culinary arts program can take up to six dual-credit courses with The Culinary Institute of America, which offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, culinary science, and applied food studies, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. This will be the college’s first-ever affiliate program with a high school in the United States.

“Through this program, Houston culinary students will have the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school and give themselves a leg up towards rewarding careers in the exciting food world,” said CIA  Provost Mark Erickson.

The dual-credit courses offered to HISD culinary students will cover culinary fundamentals and offer students hands-on practicums. Students who earn at least a B- or higher in the courses and pass the college’s culinary exams will have successfully completed a semester of study at the CIA and qualify for scholarships for the remainder of their four-year bachelor’s or two-year associate degree studies. A similar culinary arts program will be added to Davis and Wheatley high schools in 2016 and at Lamar and Milby high schools in 2017.

“We’ve offered dual-credit courses to our students with local community colleges, but this will be the first time our students in culinary arts will receive credit for actual practicum and hands-on culinary coursework,” said Westside culinary arts director Chef Reginald Martin. “Many of our students go on to enroll in post-secondary culinary programs, and some are working in fine restaurants in the greater Houston area.”

HISD culinary arts instructors will also receive training from CIA faculty at the college’s main campus in New York. The college’s faculty will visit the high school culinary arts programs to collaborate with teachers and assist with designing a new kitchen facility for Westside’s culinary arts program.

The Westside culinary program currently has partnerships with the Texas Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association in addition to its corporate partnership with Outback Steakhouse.