Professional Cooking, Baking & Service » Program Syllabus and Recommendations

Program Syllabus and Recommendations

Professional Cooking, Baking, and Service

You love to entertain and enjoy a fast-paced working environment where you multi-task and think on your feet -- welcome to the hospitality industry!
Think you would like to learn how to fillet a fish? What is it like (and what does it cost) to cook for and serve a party of 15 -- or 200? How do restaurants survive and thrive in the face of stiff competition? Where does our food come from and how is a safe working and service environment maintained? You will love challenging yourself in the kitchen and TCD's Bistro 301 as you find the answers to these questions. Discover the breadth of this field through research or an industry internship. You could even find yourself trying to keep your cool in an exciting competition.

What will my classes be like?

Your classes are taught by industry professionals and well-supported by top business partners. In the first year, study the basics of professional cooking, baking, and service. In the second year you focus on skill refinement as well as supervisory and administrative techniques. Discover how "sustainability" practices apply in the foodservice industry. Along the way, you will learn what your job would be like in a variety of career paths, from food service to food science. Explore the unique skills of a pastry chef, executive chef, dining room manager, and deli manager. Work with instructors to match your natural talents and desires with the career that’s right for you!

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.

Course Goals/Objectives

The objective of this course is to develop a fundamental knowledge of the hospitality industry. This knowledge and the corresponding skills will be in the areas of cooking, baking, service, workplace and academic skills.
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
  • American Culinary Federation Certification
  • Foundation Dinner(Spring)
  • Applied Nutrition
  • Business Math
  • Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Cheese Certification
  • ServSafe Managers Training
  • Sustainability Stewardship SP/2 Safety/Professional Skills Training

Employment Skills

  • Career Assessment
  • Résumé & Portfolio Development
  • Application, Mock 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
  • Practical Exam (Baking)

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

Successful completion of specific curriculum topics leads to industry certifications, including:

  • American Culinary Federation Secondary Culinary Graduate / American Culinary Federation - Certified Junior Culinarian
  • ProStartCertificate of National Achievement
  • Wisconsin Milk Marketing Certification
  • ServSafe Managers Certificate
  • State of Illinois Foodservice Managers Certification

Course Outline 

Illinois Foodservice Sanitation Manager Certification
Food Service Sanitation, ServSafe Certification
Culinary Measures and Conversions
Nutritional Baking and Cooking
Career Building Skills
National Restaurant Association Foundations of Restaurant
Management & Culinary Arts Certification Curriculum - Self Study
American Culinary Federation Certification Standards of Competency for Culinary, Baking, and Hospitality

Post-Secondary College Career Fair
Mock Interview
All curriculum modules continue
All curriculum modules continues
Foundation Dinner Preparation
Mock Interviews
SP/2 Safety and Professional Skills Training
ProStart/National Restaurant Association Job Shadow  Day
All curriculum modules continue
ACF NOCTI Certification Testing
ProStart National Certificate of Achievement Testing
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Cheese Certification
All curriculum modules continue
Final Portfolio Update
TCD Program Scholarship Competition
Field Trip to National Restaurant Association Show

Assessment Standards/Grading Practice

Students are graded on both academic and hands-on practices.  Culinary, Baking and Hospitality Curriculum culminate in both a hands-on and written exam.
Industry certification testing by: American Culinary Federation, Prostart, Wisconsin Milk Marketing, and American Heart Association.
Program grading scale:
100-90 A
89-80 B
79-70 C
69-60 D
59 or below F

College Credit Opportunities

Dual credit with College of DuPage for Sanitation
1120 Foodservice Sanitation
1101 CA112 Food Preparation
1171 CA 116 Introduction to Baking and Pastry

Various articulation agreements are based on earning “The ProStart Certificate of National
Achievement” (Over 90 Schools Countrywide).
Program articulation with Johnson and Wales University.
There is a program work experience waiver with Culinary Institute of America. 

Field Experiences/Competitive Opportunities

Attend National Restaurant Association Trade Show and Industry-Related Competitions.

College and Career Pathways

American Culinary Federation Junior Culinarian Certification (Must complete TCD’s 2-year program)
American Culinary Federation Secondary Graduate Certification (Must complete TCD’s 2-year program)
ProStart National Certificate of Achievement Certification (Must complete ProStart Curriculum I and II, as well as document 400 industry work experience hours)
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Cheese Course Completion Certificate
SP/2 Certification
For sample occupations and postsecondary educational requirements, visit: and click on“Career Clusters & Pathways

Program Selection Guidelines/Recommendations

We are confident that the Professional Cooking, Baking & Service Program experience is a positive and productive learning opportunity for DuPage County students. With this in mind, the following academic guidelines are recommendations intended to assist in scheduling students for success.
If a student considering Culinary, Pastry Arts, & Hospitality Management does not meet one or more of these guidelines, contact Faith Jennetta at [email protected]  to clarify individual situations.

Academic Readiness

Mathematics: Applied basic math for measurement, recipe conversion, costing, yield testing

Reading/Writing: Applied basic communication skills for industry textbooks, periodicals, recipes, menu, guest checks
Attendance: Consistent, dependable, and employable

Professional Skills

Professional  Cooking, Baking & Service students are also expected to effectively display the following attributes:
Time Management:
Multi-tasking and time management are essential in a busy and noisy environment
Personal Motivation:
Industry and program require strong self -motivation to reach upper management positions 
Problem-Solving Ability:
Strong skills necessary in a fast changing/paced industry
Essential for successful employment and advancement 
Ability to Work with Others:
Strong interpersonal communication skills are essential as it relates to guest interaction and team employment.