Cowichan Campus

Cowichan Culinary Arts Certificate Program

Cowichan Culinary Kitchen

Calling all foodies

Shape your passion and creativity into a rewarding career that can take you anywhere in the world.

The chefs training at the Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island is internationally recognized. Students gain hands-on, real-world experience working in state-of-the-art kitchens.

What to expect

You will cook in our professional kitchen and learn the high-volume cooking skills employers look for. At VIU you get more hands-on experience than most other culinary schools. And you practice new skills often to ensure you remember what you’ve learned.

What you learn

You learn the culinary skills you need to start a career in world-class hotels, resorts, restaurants, bakeries and more. You develop a chef’s palate and learn to develop your own recipes and menus. And you gain the leadership and communication skills you need to move up in the culinary world.

Red Seal and apprenticeship

  • Red Seal is a program that sets the standard for skilled tradespeople across Canada
  • it shows you have reached the high standard of training and experience that top employers look for
  • earning your Cook Red Seal involves three levels of progressive training and work-based training hours as an apprentice
  • graduates of the Culinary Arts certificate receive Professional Cook 1 and Professional Cook 2 certification and earn work-based apprenticeship hours
  • you then work in the industry to build your work-based apprenticeship hours followed by Professional Cook 3 (offered at our Nanaimo campus) and Cook Red Seal

You can begin working as a cook in a wide range of culinary enterprises or even start up your own business.

Studying in Cowichan

You explore culinary arts through our student kitchen, heat and eat product line, and community events. And you build a wide range of culinary experience in the kitchen and classroom.

We are proud to focus on local ingredients that have been grown and harvested in the Cowichan Valley.

Not ready to commit to the Culinary Arts Certificate program?

You can register for Professional Cook I and Professional Cook 2 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