Culinary Arts Program Prepares Students for Careers in Hospitality

The Culinary Arts program at the New Castle Career Center provides students with a chance to study culinary arts and hospitality management through hands-on activities and initiatives. High school juniors and seniors who participate in the program can earn up to 19 Ivy Tech dual credits and their Culinarian Certificate before graduating from high school if they complete the Culinary I and Culinary II programs.

This is a great option for students interested in professional food preparation, working in a commercial kitchen, catering, creating menus, and culinary math. Through the Culinary Arts Program, students master knife skills, ServSafe Food Handler certification, basic cooking, and baking. This program provides the skills and knowledge needed to work in a commercial kitchen, including food preparation, menu planning, food cost, catering, food safety, and personal hygiene.

Culinary Arts projects and activities 

Throughout the semester, culinary students engage in projects and hands-on activities to prepare them for the real world of hospitality. Culinary Arts Instructor Chef Robin Boucher says, “These projects help students realize there is more to cooking and baking than just producing food. They learn about costing, recipe yields, high production, time management, and organization.”

Recently, Culinary I students completed their final semester project: a Gingerbread Creation structure. To complete the project, students had to draw their structures to scale, calculate recipe costs, make the dough, and design and construct their structures. This spring, students will compete in a ProStart culinary competition with students from around the state. Another anticipated project is Restaurant Wars, a partnership between the Culinary Arts and Graphic Design programs. For this project, students will create a restaurant from the ground up and showcase it to family and friends at a dinner event.

Work-based learning at local restaurants

Culinary II seniors engage in work-based learning at local businesses three days a week. They apply the skills acquired in class to a hospitality and culinary setting. The program currently has students working at Primo, Culvers, Block & Brew, Burger King, Scooters, and Park Restaurant.

“I encourage students who aren’t sure what they want to do after high school to take the (Culinary Arts) program. Eating is a necessity, so you might as well learn how to cook and bake.” Chef Boucher said. Additionally, “there are also several non-food jobs that fall in the hospitality field, like content creators, tourism, event management, and travel coordination.”

The Culinary Arts Program is one of 20 programs available through the New Castle Career Center. For more information, visit and follow the Career Center on Facebook.