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Professional Cook (Culinary Arts)

Levels 1, 2 & 3 Apprenticeship Training
 
Where: Campbell River, Port Alberni
Starts: See schedule below
  • Earn apprenticeship technical training credit towards your Interprovincial
    (Red Seal) certification.
  • Learn from highly experienced, qualified instructors in modern,
    fully-equipped training facilities.

Career possibilities: Graduates are qualified for positions with bistros, hotels, spa and destination resorts, extended care facilities, and more. Many have gone on to start their own catering and home businesses.

Why Choose North Island College?

  • Growing opportunities. The demand for skilled, creative and qualified individuals in the hospitality industry is expanding with areas of growth in culinary tourism and agri-tourism. With the skills you'll learn in the Professional Cook program, you'll be ready for a career in a booming industry.
  • Excellent facilities, recognized credentials. Classes are held in modern, fully-equipped training facilities and include practical food production using provincial standardized curriculum.
  • Gain valuable, hands-on experience. Express your creativity in The Third Course bistro in Campbell River, where culinary arts students plan and create menus in a fine dining environment.
  • Considering a career in the Canadian Forces? NIC's Professional Cook program has been accredited by the Canadian Forces, and graduates can gain advanced standing as a cook (apprentice).

Program Highlights

The culinary program is offered at both NIC's Campbell River and Port Alberni campuses in fully equipped training facilities. To help ensure future advancement in their career, students are registered as apprentices upon entering the program and gain apprenticeship credit as they proceed through each Certificate of Qualification.

Professional Cook (Culinary Arts) consists of three levels of qualification: Professional Cook 1, Professional Cook 2, and Professional Cook 3, which provide recognized provincial certification on completion of each level. The Interprovincial (Red Seal) for Cook will be affixed to the Professional Cook 3 certificate. Each qualification level consists of an in-school training program, practical and theoretical examinations and a workplace time requirement.

Professional Cook 1 (PC1):
Learn the essentials of cooking in just 28 weeks.
From core culinary skills, to preparing and cooking stocks, soups, sauces, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, sandwiches and desserts, you are well on your way to mastering your new craft. At NIC, hands-on classes ensure you will also be introduced to menu planning, nutrition and human resource management.

Upon successful completion of the program, the PC1 final exam and, an additional 400 hours of documented industry experience, you will receive provincial certification as a Professional Cook 1. You are then eligible to continue your career development as you work toward attaining Professional Cook 2.

Professional Cook 2 (PC2):
Enter a more advanced 14-week training program where you continue your culinary skills development by gaining experience with menu creation, à la carte production and presentation, as well as dining room food and beverage service at the Third Course bistro in Campbell River.
 
Upon successful completion of Professional Cook 2 program, the PC2 final exam, and a further 760 hours of documented industry experience, you are then able to proceed to Professional Cook 3.

Professional Cook 3 (PC3):

Certification as Professional Cook 3 requires: 1) completion of a 6-week intensive theory-based in-school program, 2) the completion of theoretical and practical provincial qualification exams, and 3) a further 3,000 hours of documented industry work experience. At the completion of the in-school program, students will normally also sit for the Interprovincial (Red Seal) examination.

NIC's Professional Cook program has been accredited by the Canadian Forces, and graduates can gain advanced standing as a cook (apprentice). For more information, visit Paid Education.

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities such as pastry cooks and bakers, sous chefs and executive chefs are based on an individual's goals, experience and abilities. Positions in bistros/restaurants, cruise ships, fishing/eco-tourism resorts, catering companies, hospitals, hotels, logging and mining camps, spa and destination resorts, specialty food services, extended care facilities and culinary tourism are examples of the many opportunities available to graduates. Graduates have also gone on to open their own catering and home businesses.

Related Programs

After five years at the Journeyperson level, one may enter the Chef de Cuisine certification program available through the Canadian Culinary Federation.

Supply List

Mandatory

  • 2" 3 ring binders (4)
  • Paper, pens, pencils, highlighter
  • Metric conversion calculator - Recommend Sharp EL-520WBBK
  • Texts for the program (available at the NIC Bookstore)

Note: The following supplies are also mandatory but do not purchase until after the first day of class upon consultation with the instructor.

  • French knife - 10"
  • Boning knife - 6"
  • Paring knife - 3" or 4"
  • Bread Knife
  • Carving Knife
  • Steel - 14"
  • Vegetable peeler (floater type)
  • Parisienne scoop
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Citrus zester
  • Carrying case
  • Digital timer.
  • Digital Scale
  • Pastry Scraper
  • WCB approved footwear - non-slip soles, closed toe shoes
  • Uniform: Chef jacket, black & white check pants, 4 way or bib apron ( 2 sets of each)
  • Black pill box hat
  • Bar wipes (12)

 

Admission Requirements

 Professional Cook 1

  1. Successful North Island College Culinary Arts program assessment. For more information, check the Culinary Arts Assessment Study Information.
  2. Successful completion of FoodSafe Level 1

Note: High School graduation is preferred provided the applicant meets or exceeds the stated prerequisites.

Professional Cook 2

  1. Professional Cook 1 Certification, which includes successful completion of Professional Cook 1 Technical Training, Certificate of Qualification Examination, Practical Assessment and an additional 400 documented workplace hours for a total of 1,000 hours.

Professional Cook 3

  1. Professional Cook 2 Certification, which includes successful completion of Professional Cook 2 Technical Training, Certificate of Qualification Examination, Practical Assessment and an additional 760 documented workplace hours for a total of 2,000 hours. 

 

Before Classes Begin

Professional Cook 1 (PC1): Once you have been accepted to the program but before classes begin, you are required to complete and submit the following questionnaire to Student Services/Registration. Download the PDF or pick up at a copy at Student Services. (Exception: High school students applying through the Dual Credit application process do NOT need to submit the questionnaire.)


Program Requirements

  • PCA-100 Professional Cook 1 - 2 semesters (840 hours - approx. 28 weeks)
  • PCA-200 Professional Cook 2 - 1 semester (420 hours - approx. 14 weeks)
  • PCA-300 Professional Cook 3 - 6 weeks (180 hours - 6 weeks)

Completion Requirements

To pass each training program you must attain a minimum of 70% throughout the program.

 

  1. Is this career for me?
    If you are considering a career as a cook or aspire to be an executive chef, sous chef, pastry cook, restaurant manager or to operate your own restaurant or cafe, then this program is a perfect start to your career. Do you enjoy creating great meals? Do you like the fast pace of a busy work day? Do you have an artistic talent? Or maybe you haven't discovered it yet! Are you a team player? Are you willing to work hard for personal satisfaction in a job? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may wish to consider culinary arts as a career.
  2. Why should I take this program?
    Through a supportive and progressive model, students acquire the skills necessary for success in today's fast paced commercial kitchens. Beginning with fundamental skills development, and away from the pressure of production, you will gain the foundations of the trade. As you progress emphasis is placed on teamwork, communication skills, food production with speed, kitchen management and culinary artistry. You will gain experience preparing and plating meals for breakfast, lunch, banquet and fine-dining service. To help ensure future advancement in your career you will be registered as an apprentice upon entering the program and gain apprenticeship credit along the way. The demand for qualified professional cooks has never been greater at all levels of qualification.
  3. I hear there is a new format for cook training in BC. What is it and where do I start? The new format for culinary arts uses a progressive credentialing model, consisting of three levels of qualification: Professional Cook 1, Professional Cook 2, and Professional Cook 3, which provide recognized certification on completion of each level. The Interprovincial Red Seal for Cook will be affixed to the Professional Cook 3 certificate. You begin your career by enrolling in Professional Cook 1 training. Classes take place at both our Campbell River and Port Alberni campuses in fully equipped training facilities and include theory and practical food production using standard provincial curriculum. This new model is now underway at both the Campbell River and Port Alberni campuses, with September and January starts in Campbell River and a September start in Port Alberni.
  4. How long does it take?
    To gain Red Seal certification as a cook, you require 5,000 hours in the workplace, the completion of all three levels of technical training, and successfully pass the Interprovincial (Red Seal) examination. To receive certification as a Professional Cook 1, you are required to complete 1,000 hours of workplace experience and Professional Cook 1 technical training. To receive certification as a Professional Cook 2, you are required to complete a further 1,000 hours of workplace experience and Professional Cook 2 technical training. By successfully completing your training at NIC, you will receive 600 hours workplace credit toward the completion of Professional Cook 1 and 240 hours credit toward the completion of Professional Cook 2, in addition to receiving the technical training credits for each level.

    Program lengths are:

    Professional Cook 1 (840 hrs. approx.) - 28 weeks
    Professional Cook 2 (420 hrs. approx.) - 14 weeks
    Professional Cook 3 (180 hrs. approx.) - 6 weeks
     
  5. What will I study?
    Equipment operation and safety; receiving and storing of foods; weights and measures; kitchen terminology; salads, dressings, sandwiches, short order (garde manger); vegetables, farinaceous dishes; stocks, soups and sauces (entremetier); meats, poultry, seafood, games dishes and sauces (rotissier); desserts, pastries, cakes, yeast and bakery products (patissier); menu planning and design, food costing, recipe writing, inventory, purchasing and receiving, and nutrition.
  6. What is a typical day like?
    In Campbell River, your day in Professional Cook 1, during production and food service, begins at 7:30 am and goes to 2:30 pm. When not in production and service, the theory and lab classes are from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm. You begin with a briefing of the day's events and then it's into the kitchen. If you are on entremetier station (soups, stocks, vegetables and farinaceous) you will start preparing the days soups and stocks, or vegetables. At service time you will be serving customers directly in the cafeteria (hot entrees, salad bar, market grill, deli stations and desserts.) Once you have had your lunch then it's time to organize for the next day and have a de-briefing and re-cap the day. Theory classes involve preparing you for the module exams and as well as the related practical production for that week. During the evening you will need to study for the station module exams and review necessary theory and recipes for the next day. Professional Cook 2 will start at 1:30 pm and finish at approximately 9:30 pm. The afternoon and evening's agenda revolves around the special in-house events and dining room, as well as theory, practical workshops. In Port Alberni, all classes start at 4:00 pm and run until 11:00 pm. At service time, you will be serving directly to the customer in the dining room. The day's agenda revolves around the special events and dining room, as well as theory, practical workshops, and field trips.
  7. How am I evaluated?
    There are three parts to the evaluation process. You are graded on your practical work in the kitchen. The second part is the theory component which is evaluated by assignments and written exams. A good portion of the theory is learned during home study. You are also required to write an end of level practical and theory exam. You must achieve a minimum of 70% in each course to be successful in the program. You must successfully complete Professional Cook 1, including the 400 workplace hours requirement, before entering Professional Cook 2 and again successfully completely all requirements for Professional Cook 2 before entering Professional Cook 3.
  8. Is there opportunity for advanced placement?
    Yes, if you have significant industry experience you may qualify for challenge exams and placements. If you have completed a Career Preparation program for cooking in senior secondary you may qualify for advanced placement.
  9. Will I need my own knives and uniforms? Yes, you are required to supply a set of knives and uniforms but it is recommended that you wait until classes begin before purchasing, as contacts and quality of knives will be reviewed with the chef instructor.
     
  10. Is there much homework?
    You should expect approximately 12 hours of homework/study a week.
     
  11. Are there any higher levels of certification in cooking?
    Yes. Once you are finished the program you are well on your way to completing your apprenticeship. You will then need to fulfill the practical hours of work and training in industry. At that time you are designated as a journeyperson. After five years, you may apply to the Canadian Culinary Institute of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks to enroll in the Chef de Cuisine certification program. This process can be facilitated through the local branch of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks. Upon successful completion of that program, you will be a Certified Chef du Cuisine. Also see www.northvancouverislandchefs.com
     
  12. Where can I find more information about the Professional Cook Apprenticeship?
    Whether you're planning to work in a restaurant, a fishing lodge, on a cruise ship or in a hotel kitchen, everything you need to know to guide you through your apprenticeship can be found in Recipe for Success: Professional Cook Guide for Apprentices.

Professional Cook Apprenticeship Training Classes

Scheduled classes may be subject to change, depending on demand.
 

PCA-100 – Professional Cook Apprenticeship Level 1

  • 2014 Fall: September 2 – March 27 – Port Alberni Campus
  • 2014 Fall: November 10 - May 22 - Campbell River Campus 


PCA-200 – Professional Cook Apprenticeship Level 2

  • 2014 Fall: September 8 – December 12 – Campbell River Campus


PCA-300 – Professional Cook Apprenticeship Level 3

  • to be announced 

 

Questions?

Contact:
Student Services
1-800-715-0914
 

Check out the program video.

Financial Awards Available!

B&C Food Distributors Award
McCain Foods (Canada) Bursary

Apply Now