Napa Valley Cooking School

Cooking School Curriculum - First Semester

 

All of the courses at Napa Valley Cooking School are designed to promote a well-rounded culinary professional.  With a focus on sustainability, dedication to creating a foundation in traditional culinary techniques and an eye on the future of modern culinary world, our program is unique in the rapidly growing field of culinary education.  This fast paced curriculum is designed to build on itself and the techniques learned in each course are repeated to enforce the mastery required to be a successful chef.

 

 

 

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Orientation 

During orientation students will meet all school staff and tour the campus. Uniforms, knife kits, policies and procedures manuals, and schedules will be distributed.  The chefs will provide an overview of the curriculum and grading policies.  There will be a financial aide seminar for those students who are seeking assistance. 

Safety and Sanitation 

Students learn the latest information on food safety including the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety system and the Food and Drug Administration's Food Code. Emphasis of the course is the practical application and implementation of safety and sanitation guidelines. ServSafe is a nationally recognized certificate program and must be successfully completed in order to continue the professional culinary program.

Upon successful completion of the course students will receive a ServSafe certificate from the National Restaurant Association.

Student Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Safely handle food utilizing current information on food handling and safety.
  • Apply and implement ServSafe guidelines.
  • Safely use and care for equipment and food products.
  • Operate a professional kitchen observing Health Department regulations.

 

Product Identification 

This is an introductory course in identification of key ingredients used in culinary applications. Using exceptional quality ingredients and sensory evaluation, students gain a broad knowledge of “foundation ingredients” such as salt, sugar, herbs, spices, artisan cheeses, and greens.  Field trips to local biodynamic farms and the farmer’s market help create a true appreciation of the importance of how and where ingredients are produced.  Students witness firsthand how our every day efforts translate into and affect the impact of the culinary industry on the land.

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand sustainable practices from a culinary standpoint.
  • Identify sources, flavors and uses of various salts, sugars, oils, fats, vinegars, cheeses, spices, herbs, grains and greens.
  • Discern and select ingredients for individual culinary uses.
  • Understand the five tastes.
  • Identify and distinguish different flavor profiles.
      

Essential Skills 

This course is designed to introduce the student to all aspects of the professional kitchen, including equipment identification, basic culinary math, US standard and metric measuring system, knife identification, knife handling and sharpening, all culinary knife cuts, potato, egg, vegetable and grain cookery, as well as wet, dry and combination cooking methods.  Recipe writing and the production of order sheets and prep-sheets are also covered in detail.

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Identify equipment.
  • Perform calculations using basic culinary math.
  • Utilize US standard and metric measurement systems
  • Identify, handle, and sharpen knives.
  • Demonstrate all culinary knife cuts.
  • Apply appropriate cooking methods for potatoes, eggs, vegetables, and grains. 
  • Understand and apply wet, dry and combination cooking methods.
  • Effectively write and convert recipes.

Fundamentals of Baking & Pastry

This course is designed to introduce students to skills and techniques required in the production of yeast breads, short pastry doughs, custards, pâte à choux and cake batters.  The NVCS believes that all qualified chefs should be proficient in all aspects of the kitchen, including bread making and pastry work.

Student Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Making a baguette
  • Production of baked, steamed and cooked custards
  • Making pate brisee, sucree, sable and American Pie Dough
  • Production and application of sweet and savory pate a choux

 

Stocks & Soups

This course is an introduction to classic and modern preparations including white and brown stock, vegetable and fruit stock, all classic soups including: cream, puree, clear cut and consommé as well as specialty cold soups.  Classic and modern interpretations of emulsified, reduction, puree, sabayon, infusion, juice, butter, foam, and nage sauces are also covered.

Student Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Prepare classic white and brown protein based stocks.
  • Prepare modern stocks including chicken, veal, demi-glace, vegetable and fruit stocks.
  • Understand and demonstrate preparation methods for cream, puree, clear cut, consommé, specialty and cold soups.
     

Garde Manger 

During this course students learn proper terminology and technique for cold emulsification, salads and dressings, canapé and hors d’oeuvres preparation.  Students will be introduced to all aspects of a classical Garde Manger position including appetizers common to the Americas, France, Italy and Spain.  The continuation of mastering Garde Manger technical skills takes place in semester II during Charcuterie.

Student Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of:

  • Use of proper terminology.
  • Cold emulsifications.
  • Identification, care for, and handle of salad greens.
  • Canapés, hors d’oeuvres, salads, dressings and other cold preparations related to Garde Manger.
  • Prepare food for and serve approximately 100 people.

Sauces

This course introduces students to classic and modern preparations of sauces. Cream sauces, white stock based sauces, brown stock or demi-glace sauces, vegetable stock sauces and emulsified butter sauces are all included. This unit focuses upon techniques that produce high quality and well-flavored products.

Student Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Prepare classic white and brown protein based sauces.
  • Prepare modern sauces including vegetable and fruit sauces.
  • Prepare classic and modern interpretations of emulsified, reduction, puree, sabayon, infusion, juice, butter, foam, and nage sauces.

 

Catering and Special Events

This course is designed with a focus on menu development and an introduction to volume cooking.  Students work together to prepare a luncheon for 100 guests.  Principals and techniques of dining room service, including various table settings, fine dining service standards and staff management are introduced.

Student Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Appreciate the magnitude of the quantity of ingredients, staff, space, tools and equipment required for large scale food service.
  • Set up a dining room for a fine dining restaurant.
  • Adapt small recipes and cooking methods to unfamiliar equipment and large scale service.
  • Calculate prep, plating schedules and timing.
  • Articulate the high standards of service required for a fine dining restaurant.  
      

Student Run Restaurant 1

This exciting and intensive course is a student run restaurant, created with the goal of providing real time, hands on experience of the operations of a  fine dining establishment.  On a rotating schedule, students are responsible for kitchen station planning and set-up, creating prep and order lists, cooking on the line in both savory and dessert stations, performing sous chef responsibilities, dining room décor and set-up, performing maitre d’ and server functions, wine service, and procuring donated wines for the lunch service of up to 80 guests each day.

Student Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand and execute the décor and set-up of the dining room in a fine dining restaurant.
  • Perform maitre and’ and server functions.
  • Procure donated wines and perform wine service.
  • Plan and cost multiple course menus.
  • Plan and set-up kitchen stations.
  • Create prep and order lists.
  • Perform line cooking in both savory and dessert stations.
  • Perform sous chef duties.

 

 

Check out photo's, upcoming dates and reservation information for our Student Run Restaurant!

 

 

Begin the journey to fulfilling your dreams of becoming a chef! 

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Application for Admission NOW!

 

Photography by Culinary Images