Professional Culinary Arts Immersion + Farm-to-Table: California

Come out of the kitchen and into the fields…ICC’s revolutionary Farm-to-Table curriculum extends our comprehensive 600-hour Professional Culinary Arts Immersion course by connecting your chef training to the beginning of the food chain. Hands-on experience will be emphasized through a series of field trips which provide broad, informed perspectives on farming and sustainable agriculture from some of the industry’s brightest minds. You’ll experience the best of California’s bounty as you visit innovative producers: small- and large-scale farmers, dairies, ranches and markets. The knowledge you gain will allow you to make expert personal decisions about the use of products to heighten quality and flavor in your own professional kitchen—plus give you a competitive edge when you graduate.

What We Offer

A one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore the farm-powered movement, combining immersive in-the-kitchen study with in-the-field experience, this course will not only prepare you to be an excellent chef, but to understand and preserve our culinary and farming heritage for future generations.

“I really enjoyed the emphasis ICC has put on sustainability. We as students got to make informed decisions about how we want to proceed as chefs.” –Culinary Arts + Farm-To-Table graduate


Knowing how to cook is one thing; understanding how to develop a business plan is another skill set. That’s why we’ve introduced a portfolio of Culinary Business workshops to round out your education. See more below.

The Bounty of California

California was the country’s leader in the farm-to-table movement. California producers supply almost 50% of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, shepherding them through a complex distribution system that brings produce from field to plate. Since our campus is ideally located near the Salinas Valley–America’s “Bread Basket”— this is the perfect place to learn about the essential links in the food chain.

Amazing Field Trips

In a revolutionary curriculum designed by Karen Karp, a pioneer in food systems and sustainability and a leading ambassador in the “Good Food movement,” you’ll learn firsthand how food production, distribution, social and environmental sustainability, policy and delicious food go hand-in-hand through a week of experiential learning comprised of a series of field trips— including one overnight excursion. You’ll visit both artisan farms and large commercial-scale operations, and pick the brains of farm workers, ranchers, market managers and policy makers about what organic and sustainable really means.

From production and picking to pest control, preservation, packaging and marketing, this course will help you gain insight into the many precise decisions involved in getting quality ingredients from farm to plate.

Find out about our legendary deans, small class size and alumni network here.

See information about college creditfinancial aid and scholarships.

Tuition Includes

  • 600-hour Culinary Arts diploma program–400 hours on-site, 200 hours' paid externship (Only students authorized to work in the United States will be paid for their externships.)
  • 14:1 student-to-teacher ratio
  • Local field trips, including one overnight (optional)
  • Application fee, uniform, tool kit, books and supplies
  • "Family meal” prepared by students
  • Culinary Business workshops (online)
  • Carnegie Hall commencement
  • Career Services counseling

Nearby housing is offered at both campuses. Housing fees are separate from the cost of program tuition.


See Professional Culinary Arts Immersion levels for hands-on cooking part of the program.

course information
06-06-16 - 12-06-16 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $38,400
11-14-16 - 05-19-17 9:00am-2:30pm 6 months Mon-Fri $38,400

For more class dates throughout the year, please contact Rachel Thompson at

  • What You'll Learn

  • Organic Farms

  • Ranches and Dairy Farms

  • Aquariums and Fisheries

  • Urban Food Centers

  • Grand Finale

This revolutionary Farm-to-Table curriculum extends our comprehensive 600-hour Professional Culinary Arts Immersion course by connecting your training as a chef to the beginning of the food chain. Hands-on experience will be emphasized through a series of field trips that take you beyond the four walls of the kitchen. You’ll benefit from the broadest, most informed perspectives on farming and sustainable agriculture from the industry’s brightest minds. You’ll experience the very best of California’s bounty as you visit some of the most innovative producers: small and large scale farmers, dairies, ranches and markets. What you learn will allow you to make expert personal decisions about the products you’ll use to heighten quality and flavor in your own professional kitchen. Field trips include:

Professional Culinary Arts Immersion Curriculum:

Levels 1 & 2

  • Introduction to Culinary Techniques
  • Building Culinary Foundations

Levels 3 & 4

  • Techniques in Buffet, Charcuterie, Production and High Volume Cooking
  • Skills for Consistency and Refinement, Time Management and Organization


  • Students get on-the-job-training through a paid externship

You will visit both ends of the agricultural spectrum. You’ll begin at a place like Alba Organics, a small-scale organic farm that sells its products to bigger companies and trains laborers to become entrepreneurs. You’ll finish at a place like Bolthouse Farms, the second largest carrot producer in the country where you’ll learn more about the national food chain and the business of large-scale farming. You’ll taste carrots – sometimes white, yellow and orange - and learn how to tell if they are fresh, and talk about ways to use them in your menus. You’ll also gain insight into water management and farm labor—two essential and controversial issues in farming today.

On your first overnight excursion you’ll visit Paicines Ranch, a 7,700-acre ranch and land restoration project in the San Benito Valley, where livestock production and land conservation go hand-in-hand. The owners of Paicines are committed to managing the “landscape for biodiversity, water quality, and an effective energy cycle, along with financial sustainability.” At Paicines Ranch, you’ll learn how good ecological practices and the humane treatment of animals result not only in less impact on the land, but also in superior flavor. After butchering and preparing meat for the evening meal, you’ll be up with the cows, visiting a nearby 10,000 head dairy farm—a literal counterpart to Paicines—to witness large-scale dairy production firsthand and understand the distinctions between commercial and small-scale farming.

You’ll engage in a discussion of seafood stewardship at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and learn about the importance of ocean biodiversity. You’ll visit with a local chef and learn more about sustainable seafood choices and how to source the freshest and best fish and shellfish products for your menus. You may visit a shellfish aquaculture farm to learn about the interplay between science and technology and how aquaculture is working to restore the health of the oceans.During this session, you’ll learn even more about climate change, the importance of water conservation, and how the practices of farms and vineyards affect the ocean’s biodiversity and our seafood supply.

Your final field trip will take place in San Francisco where you will visit the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market—widely recognized as the place where many of the city’s best chefs source their ingredients. There you will take a tour with the market manager, who will introduce you to a range of wholesalers with different specialties: local food, organic produce, and imports.

Your experiential learning from the week will come together in a grand finale at the CUESA Ferry Building Marketplace. After you learn from the Market Director how the market works and the important role it plays for San Francisco’s most-renowned chefs, you’ll get to put your knowledge and skills to the test. Break out into teams to gather local, sustainable produce, meats, and cheeses to create a market-fresh dish in the CUESA kitchen. Create small tastes for market-goers to rate as you compete with and against your classmates in an Iron Chef-style competition.

The ICC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

The full-time day program is open to enrollment by M-1 nonimmigrant students.

In accordance with US Department of Education requirements, the International Culinary Center discloses certain educational, labor, and financial statistics related to this program. View disclosure for daytime and evening schedules.

2014 “AWARD OF EXC...

The International Culinary Center is proud to announce that it has been selected as the 2014 winner of the In...  Read More  

Featured Video

ApplY to ICC Now
Apply Now