Professional Cooking, Baking & Service » Professional Cooking, Baking & Service

Professional Cooking, Baking & Service

Are you creative? Do you enjoy cooking and or baking? Do you thrive in a team environment? If so, Professional Cooking, Baking and Service might be your recipe for success. The restaurant and hospitality industry is looking for the country’s best young people to be its future stars. Restaurant and foodservice, a $1 trillion industry, creates hundreds of thousands of new jobs each year with enormous advancement opportunity and earning potential for those who have the right skills and attitude.

The Professional Cooking, Baking and Service program at Technology Center of DuPage is affiliated with ProStart. ProStart, a program administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), is a nationwide system of high school restaurant and foodservice courses linked with on-the-job experiences. This state-of-the-art program opens the door to many opportunities including industry certifications like the American Culinary Federation, college credit with College of DuPage and Joliet Junior College and college scholarships.

Professional Cooking, Baking and Service is a two-year certification course that provides you with basic culinary, baking and service essentials and foodservice management skills including customer relations, cost controls, basic accounting principles, marketing, purchasing, inventory, teambuilding skills and communications. All of these skills are developed and refined taught by award winning instructors.  Also, ProStart gives you the opportunity to compete in culinary and management-based events that can lead to additional scholarships and potential employment opportunities.

What will my classes be like?

In your first year, begin with ServSafe® -- a short certification course in food safety for managers -- followed by measurement and kitchen skills common to a range of industry pathways. Complete some basic systems training and the rest of the year is your choice: continuing in a dual credit/certification pathway of Cooking. In one year, you have the opportunity to earn certifications and dual credit (both high school and college credit) and solid employability skills.

Kick it up a notch with ProStart® Independent Study!

A self-study of the industry-recognized ProStart® curriculum, developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. It’s an opportunity to learn, intern, compete, earn scholarships, and network with industry leaders.
You will have the opportunity to participate in the Illinois Restaurant Association ProStart and American Culinary Federation (ACF) certification programs. TCD is the only high school in Illinois with ACF certification.

Successful completion of specific curriculum topics lead to industry certifications including:

  • American Culinary Federation Secondary Culinary Graduate
  • American Culinary Federation Certified Junior Culinarian
  • ProStart Professional (National Restaurant Association): ProStart Certificate of National Achievement
  • ServeSafe Manager Certificate
  • ServeSafe Food Handler
  • ServeSafe Food Allergen
  • SP2 Certifications

Available Student Certifications:

  • American Culinary Federation: Junior Culinary; Secondary Graduate Certification
  • ProStart National Certificate of Achievement
  • Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Cheesecyclopedia Certificate of Completion Education
  • SP/2 Safety & Professional Standards Certifications

Program Certifications:

  • National Restaurant Association ProStart Program
  • American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Program

Chef Matt Barker
Chef Byron Kuhn
Chef Brittney McLawhorn - Program Coordinator


The topics below are among the essential skills for this program. This is not a comprehensive list of all available skills and goals, but given to show the scope of the curriculum. Changes may occur year to year based on industry input, change in focus, or other factors. Please contact the program instructor or coordinator for additional information.

Core Skills

  • Program/Industry Orientation
  • Foundation Dinner (Spring)
  • Applied Nutrition
  • Business Math
  • Wisconsin Cheese Certification
  • SP/2 - Safety/Professional Standards Training
  • ServSafe - Managers Training/Illinois Foodservice Sanitation Manager Certification
  • Sustainability Stewardship

Employment Skills

  • Career assessment
  • Résumé & Portfolio Development
  • Application, interview, job search

Professional Cooking Skills

  • Kitchen Basics: Safety, Equipment and Staples
  • Meat, Poultry, Seafood
  • Vegetables, Fruits, Grains
  • Sauces, Soups, Stock
  • Breakfast foods, sandwiches
  • Charcuterie (prepared meats)
  • Cooking Methods: Heat, Dry Heat, Combination Heat
  • Salads, Garnishes, Vinaigrettes, Dressings
  • Mise en Place (Organization)
  • Plating/presentation techniques
  • Global cuisines / Culinary Trends

Professional Baking Skills

  • Vocabulary
  • Baking Science
  • Bakery Mixing Methods
  • Scaling for Baking
  • Cookie/Bar Production
  • Yeast Dough Production
  • Custards, chocolates
  • Pies, Cheesecakes
  • Quick breads, muffins, biscuits
  • Pastries, sauces, mousses
  • Design/Preparation of Plated Dessert
  • Cake decorating

Professional Service Skills

  • Types of Service
  • Guest / Customer Service
  • Marketing and the Menu
  • Table Side Service
  • Cleaning, setting tables
  • Allergy Awareness
  • Point of Sale
  • Quick service / Coffee set-up
  • Purchasing and inventory
  • Standard accounting practices
TCD's ProStart Management Team 2nd Place at State ProStart Invitational!

TCD's ProStart Management Team
3rd Place at State ProStart Invitational!
 TCD's ProStart Culinary Team made ita FOURTH straight state win.
They placed 10th at ProStart Nationals
 ProStart Culinary Team:
1st in State, 10th at Nationals
ProStart Culinary Team first in state,
2nd Place at Nationals
 Illinois ProStart Invitational Culinary Champ
Prostart Team:
Meeting several times a week in preparation for competition
Hospitality Club: meets to explore the hospitality industry by visiting different venues as a learning opportunity

"Why ProStart?"
Hear how students and industry respond: