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Culinary Arts


Students have the opportunity to build interest and master essential hands-on culinary techniques and theoretical academics for a career in the Hospitality Industry. The ProStart Program I & II is sponsored by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and is an accelerated curriculum which is followed for Culinary Arts I students (taught in the first year of the program). Classes are 1 ½ - 2 hours in length. Coursework topics include, but not limited to: Foodservice History, Sanitation & Safety; Equipment Usage; Basic & Technological Aspects in Foodservice Preparation; Nutrition; Classical Cooking; Ordering, Purchasing, Receiving & Inventory Controls; Workplace Math & Accounting; Introduction to Lodging & Tourism; Workplace Skills in securing employment and in Customer Relations; Vocational Ethics. Students will be directly involved in all aspects of a commercial kitchen operation. A full second year is offered with Culinary Arts II with more emphasis placed on advanced culinary skills, increased customer relations, supervisory & management experiences, independent study at the post-secondary level, an increase in outside activities, and internship opportunities. Eligibility for culinary competitions is optional for Culinary Arts I and II students.

Students will participate in at least 10 hours per semester of outside community service (not including field trips), as offered by the instructor. Permitted field trips are offered during and outside of the required class activities and are instrumental to education within the Hospitality Industry.

A Foods I class at the home school is highly recommended for entering Culinary Arts at Wilco. Students must also pass the sanitation/safety exam before they are permitted to enter the lab. It is beneficial for students pursuing a career in foodservice to include Spanish in their High School curriculum. One and one-half (11/2) to four (4) elective credits per year (as determined by the home school) are earned towards high school graduation. Once coursework is completed, post-secondary articulation with most colleges is available. Students passing the ProStart Curriculum I and II and the IDPH Sanitation Certification will earn 11 transferable dual credits through Joliet Junior College. Certifications can also be earned from the Illinois Restaurant Association, the National Certificate of Achievement from the National Restaurant Association and the ServSafe Manager Sanitation Certification. Scholarship opportunities are made available and encouraged for all students.



Students will be expected to meet all course goals with a passing grade and are to demonstrate understanding of underlying concepts through practice and theory. Assignments require students to draw on academic skills in math, science, language arts and fine arts.

Assessment is both through team and individual performance. Class instruction and laboratory delivery is through; lecture, demonstration, class discussion, instructor example, approved text and journal reading, math and practical application, role playing, internships and outside activities. Evaluation is determined by; written testing, rubric scored labs and classroom participation, project delivery, instructor observation, and self & peer evaluations. Most course instruction in given in the class setting. Some project work involves outside research. Strong emphasis is placed on workplace skills (attitude, attendance, professionalism, dependability, participation, and cooperation). A positive and professional work ethic is mandatory


Students will be trained and receive academic instruction on how to apply the knowledge and skills necessary for entering the Hospitality Industry at a level allowing for continuing education and/or life-sustained employment. As a result of instruction, students will be able to know, comprehend, apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate:

  • The appropriate safety procedures and precautions necessary to successfully participate in Hospitality
  • The understanding necessary to practice the application of workplace skills and job readiness
  • The appropriate food safety/sanitation procedures & precautions useful in a work setting
  • The skills to practice time management and accounting principles
  • The tools, equipment and technology necessary to participate in Culinary Arts
  • The academic knowledge learned from math, science, and the arts as it applies to foodservice
  • The practice of food preparation skills and nutrition information
  • The individual job opportunities available based on knowledge and skill demonstrated

Upon course completion, students will meet course objectives and evaluate concepts including statistical information.


Students will participate in team and individual learning experiences and projects. Included are three (3) project assignments which are exemplary of instruction:

  • Laboratory Activity
  • Demonstration Presentations
  • Final Practical Presentations
  • Research Projects

Project Delivery

Laboratory Activities begin with classroom instruction. Theory is projected into application in the lab setting. Recipes are distributed for computing conversion, costing, production time lines and ordering. Students work as a team to apply skills of; communication, dependability, punctuality, attendance, problem solving, preparation, equipment use, food safety, time management, sanitary practices, and waste/cost controls. Team building, workplace skills and foodservice skill building are all emphasized but team participation is crucial to task completion.

Peer demonstration presentation is required. The project is based on individual performance. The student draws on learned skills to follow a recipe to completion adapting learned knowledge from coursework. Skills necessary include; time management, computations in conversion and costing, mise en place, following recipe directions, menu development, problem solving, ingredient research presentation and submission, trust in assistant selection, oral presentation, customer relations, creative product presentation, and verbal presentation. The project emphasis is on oral presentation supported by written material.

The Final Practical Exam is an individual test combining skills and theory. The student is given a recipe by the instructor to which computations are made in portioning and cost. Ingredients and supplies are gathered, measured/weighed and placed for preparation. Sanitation and safety measures are tested as well as equipment/tool knowledge. Specific classical and standard cuts are assigned signifying knowledge and knife usage. Preparation and problem solving skills are then applied to end with a creatively presented product. Emphasis is placed on the entire first years’ academic theories put into practice. Students are given the parameters of the exam prior to execution so that they may review or request information necessary to complete the task.

Assessment Plan

The project assessment specifics are included in each project standard. All are based on 100 points and follow the Culinary Course grading standards. The basic tools for each project assessment are as follows:

  • Laboratory Activity is assessed with a Rubric
  • Demonstration Presentation is assessed with a Rubric
  • Final Practical Exam is assessed with an Evaluation Score Sheet

Performance Standards for course assessment:

Grade Performance Standards

A - Independent Learner – exceptional organization, self-starter, motivated learner, applies consistently academic and technical skills at a high level, evaluates work and makes adjustments resolving own problem solving, requires little assistance from instructor, finds resources independently, manages time wisely, usually completes tasks ahead, demonstrates knowledge receiving grades of 90 or higher

B - Semi-Independent Learner – possesses good organizational skills, generally motivated, applies academic and technical skills at an above average level, evaluates work with minor adjustments and occasional assistance from instructor, completes own research with minimal assistance, good time management skills, usually completes tasks, demonstrates knowledge by receiving grades of 80-89

C - Adequate Learner – average organizational skills, motivated with some prompting, skills applied at average level of performance-may need some prompting, requests instructor assistance on a daily basis, needs assistance to find resources and research, average manager of time completing tasks 50-75% of the time, demonstrates knowledge by receiving grades on 70-79

D - Dependent Learner-poor organizational skills, unmotivated-needs constant prompting, skills applied are below average due to inattentiveness during instruction also causing significant waste of product and poor quality product, work has constant errors or needs to be redone, needs assistance constantly to remain on task and evaluate product/performance, unable to find own resources for research, has poor attendance and/or punctuality, demonstrates knowledge by receiving grades of 60-69

F - Failure-has little or no organizational skills, constantly unmotivated, shows no concern, tasks not completed on a regular basis or produces consistently poor products, fails to follow procedures, consistent errors, lacks attendance and punctuality as criteria to learning, unable and/or unwilling to seek own resources necessary for task completion, receives grades less than 60

Performance Standards for student evaluation:

Evaluation Criteria Method of Evaluation

Class Participation Attendance, punctual, behavior, participation, activity completition, 30% professionalism, adherence to guidelines, academic knowledge, math skills, shares responsibility

Laboratory Participation Attendance, punctual, behavior, participation, professionalism, problem 30% solving, team cooperation, communication, food/equipment safety, technical application, sanitation application, shares responsibilities, quality of finished product

Written Tests/Quizzes Academic knowledge, resource application 20%

Team Project (Semester 1) Team based research project as assigned by instructor 10%

Basic Skills Practical (Semester 1) Comprehensive assessment of lab specific basic skills in math and technical application, evaluation 10%

 Individual Project (Semester 2) Project choice from instructor selected list – grading criteria independently determined, evaluation assessed 10%

 Final Practical (Semester 2) Comprehensive knowledge in math, professionalism, problem solving, food/equipment safety/sanitation, technical application, evaluation10%

Textbooks and Resources

Becoming a Foodservice Professional Years 1 and 2, ProStart, NRA Educational Foundation
Professional Cooking
On Cooking
Professional Baking
Food Service Sanitation Code, Illinois Department of Public Health
Applied Foodservice Sanitation, NRA Educational Foundation

Required Materials

A $50 materials charge is necessary for all first year students. Additional supplies/costs are needed for second year and competition team students. Monies are due within the first 20 days of entering the Culinary Arts course. Materials included in the $50 are:

  • 1 Chef Coat
  • 1 Chef Hat
  • 1 Wilco Polo shirt
  • 1 pocket thermometer

A student who is considering enrolling in Culinary Arts program at the Wilco Area Career Center should have:

Knowledge and Skills in these Academic areas:


  • add, subtract, multiply, & divide positive and negative numbers, fractions, and decimals
  • knowledge of rules of algebra, geometry and statistics


  • read and comprehend at technical level
  • understand and follow directions
  • apply concepts and information


  • note taking essential
  • clear succinct sentence structure

Skills and Abilities in:

Reasoning and Problem Solving

  • identify problems and review information
  • analyze options and apply solutions
  • combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions
  • use reasoning to discover answers to problems
  • notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong
  • remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures
  • use reasoning to discover answers to problems
  • judge the costs and benefits of a possible action
  • develop a vision of how a system should work

Managing Oneself, People, Time, and Things:

  • check how well they are learning or doing something
  • go back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information without becoming confused/ability to multitask
  • time management
  • decide how much money is needed to complete a task and how much to charge to recoup costs
  • motivate, develop, and direct people as they work

Working with People

  • change behavior in relation to others’ actions
  • demonstrate knowledge to others
  • work as a team to complete a task

Working with Things

  • test and inspect products or service
  • evaluate quality or performance
  • determine the tools and equipment needed to do a job
  • use equipment according to specifications
  • determine the causes of problems and find solutions for them
  • maintain equipment on a routine basis, determine when and what kind of maintenance is needed
  • analyze needs and requirements when designing products
  • assess alternatives

Perceiving and Visualizing

  • quickly and accurately compare letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns
  • imagine how something will look if its manipulated


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Wilco Area Career Center 500 Wilco Blvd Romeoville, IL  60446


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