Cowichan Campus

Cowichan Culinary Arts Certificate Program

Cowichan Culinary Kitchen

Our 10.5 month Certificate program is designed to train students for a career in culinary arts. Our goal is to create a sophisticated, hands-on program that encourages student success in a broad range of current industry skills, knowledge, and methods. Students are registered as apprentices withSkilledTradesBC and graduates will receive Professional Cook Level I and II certification and credit for 1200 work-based training hours to apply towards their Cook Red Seal. Graduates are ready to begin working as cooks in a wide range of culinary enterprises or even start up their own businesses.

The program focuses on products grown and harvested in the Cowichan Valley and uses method-based training to expose students to entrepreneurial concepts and community-based values. Students explore culinary arts through a variety of different spaces including our student kitchen, heat and eat product line, and community events. The program fosters inquiry, reflection and action while incorporating a wide range of culinary experiences in the kitchen and classroom, resulting in graduates ready to take their place as future industry leaders.

The Culinary Arts Certificate program includes a 10-week co-operative work experience from mid-June to August.  This is a paid work opportunity that gives students valuable industry experience and a job to list on their resumes.  Many co-op placements turn into permanent positions for students.

Not ready to commit to the Culinary Arts Certificate program?  You can register for Professional Cook I and II as separate programs and exit after either of these completion points. Your training will assist you in finding work in a variety of culinary venues.  

Classes are located at the Cowichan Campus in Duncan, BC and are in session 4 days per week, Monday - Thursday, 7:30 am to 2:30 pm.

How to Apply

All programs consist of 75% practical, hands-on experience and 25% theory including topics such as food preparation, kitchen management, and cooking methods. Course content includes:

  • Knife skills, kitchen safety & organization
  • Vegetable & starch production
  • Meat, poultry, seafood butchery & cooking methodology
  • Preparation of stocks, soups, & sauces
  • Baking and desserts
  • Real-life line experience setting up and operating the Café (our student-run restaurant)

Career Opportunities

  • Graduates of the Culinary Arts program leave with a sound knowledge of the basics of professional cooking. Becoming a recognized chef requires years of work experience.
  • Students who excel in this program are in high demand, and many have attained top-level positions in five-star hotels, restaurants, resorts, and private clubs in Canada and around the world. Graduates have also found employment in institutional kitchens, hospitals, retirement homes, BC Ferries, the film & movie industry, catering, and camps.
  • Students with entrepreneurial dreams have started small-scale food processing businesses making grab and go, heat and eat, and other specialty food products found at farmer’s markets, farm stands and grocery stores.
  • Students have shared their love of food by teaching cooking classes and writing food related articles, blogs, and even books.
  • Graduates can use their culinary certification as a stepping stone to further education such as VIU’s Culinary Management Diploma program.
  • Chefs in the industry recognize the expertise of VIU’s Culinary Arts graduates and regularly contact program instructors seeking graduates for local, national, and international employment opportunities.

Meet The Faculty

Chef  Andrea MacLean 

Andrea MacLean

Culinary Arts Instructor

Andrea first studied Culinary Arts and Pastry at the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Ottawa, and went on to continue her professional chef training at The Pacific Institute for Culinary Arts in Vancouver. Since graduating Andrea was hired by the Fairmont Vancouver Airport and started her culinary apprenticeship under Chef Iain Rennie. Andrea continued her apprenticeship at the Terminal City Club under Chef David Long and achieved her Red Seal Certification. Andrea worked her way up to Sous Chef and then became Restaurant Chef before moving on to work at many of Vancouver’s’ premiere private member clubs. During her career Andrea competed in several cooking competitions winning the title of Iron Chef in 2004 and 2005. After many years in the industry cooking for Vancouver’s elite, politicians, dignitaries, celebrities and royalty, Andrea started teaching at VIU in 2021. Andrea loves meeting the new generation of chefs and sharing her passion for food and enthusiasm with them.


Scott Paro

Culinary Arts Instructor

Bio and Image coming