Our programs were developed with your successful future in mind
Whether you want to pursue a career in Culinary Arts as an Executive Chef or as a Pastry Chef, SDCI offers a comprehensive program in both disciplines.
Both our Cuisine and Pastry programs were built around the same fundamentals: Small class sizes, career mentorship from our certified Chef Instructors, and hands-on training to learn the proper skills and techniques you'll need to succeed in any fine-dining kitchen environment. Both programs consist of lecture classes including Safety/Sanitation and Entrepreneurship. Both programs have 80% of their coursework conducted in the kitchen classroom which means more time to master your techniques. They also both end with an Externship program where you have the opportunity to work in the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant, resort, hotel, or catering company for 220 hours.
Commis Culinary Method
The Savory Kitchen
The Advanced Professional Diploma in Cuisine Commis Culinary program represents the culmination of years of research and program development by some of the finest culinary educators in the country. Based upon proven methods of culinary education and incorporating current thinking on how people learn, the Commis Method leads aspiring Chefs through a more logical series of courses. This is an educational strategy that makes more sense. Each course in the series leads naturally to the next and relies inevitably on the preceding.
This is a hands-on program (80% of your studies take place in the kitchen). We believe that culinary students learn more working in a kitchen, with product. At SDCI, every student prepares food every day — no fighting for space or kitchen resources with other students. And again, you learn techniques, not recipes. With a command of foundational techniques, Commis students can execute virtually any recipe from any cookbook, rather than a limited number of dishes taught out of a cookbook.
We've designed the Cuisine curriculum around three main course sequences:
The Introductory Lecture Series: this series of courses introduces the students to the kitchen, business, and theory concepts that they will study throughout the program.
The Lab Series: over 80% of your coursework will take place in the kitchen/classroom. You will study first simple concepts and prepare simple plates that will become progressively more challenging as you go.
- The Externship: at the conclusion of your program, you will use your skills in a live professional kitchen under the tutelage of an experienced Executive Chef, committed to furthering your education.
In the Introductory Lecture Series will introduce you to concepts in professionalism, flavor theory, safety and sanitation, and business. These topics form the foundation on which we’ve built the rest of your curriculum and which you will employ in the lab.
In addition to working on your cooking techniques, in the lab you will also work on concepts in business, safety/sanitation, and flavor theory. By studying these topics in the kitchen, working with real product, you will better understand things like menu costing. Only SDCI offers this unique — and successful — method of culinary training.
The only thing we can’t offer you on campus is real-world experience. Nothing can take the place of a busy kitchen and a dining room full of hungry and demanding diners. The Externship program at SDCI has placed students with many of the best restaurants in the world — as ranked by the Michelin and other world-class restaurant guides. No culinary school offers better opportunities than SDCI.
Flavor and Business
The Executive Chef must be more than just the best cook in the kitchen. The Chef must understand the ‘how’s and ‘why’s of flavor and must know how to cook, not just well, but profitably.
Only the Commis Curriculum trains you in the intricacies of flavor, how they interact with the human physiology. You will learn to engage with your cooking, not just the sense of taste, but all five of the diner’s senses — even touch and hearing.
By combining your superior understanding of cooking technique, with an understanding of the business fundamentals at work in the professional kitchen, you will excel in your career and climb the ranks quickly.
The process for admission to San Diego Culinary Institute is stringent. We designed it to ensure that only the most committed students attend our programs — and thereby ensures that your classmates will be as committed to their studies as you are to yours.
As for the admissions criteria:
- Demonstrate your passion for your culinary studies and your commitment to the business.
- Demonstrate your desire to complete the program.
We will learn these things about you by reading your resume, your letters of reference, and your mission statement — but most importantly, we will learn about you in your Chef Interview. This interview is your opportunity to tell us who you are and to express why you want to attend our institute.
About the School
SDCI is fairly unique when it comes to culinary schools. We've only been around for 12 years, which is fairly young. We are family owned and have only one campus location.