Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts

Higher Certificate in Arts Culinary Arts

Course Overview

  • 2


  • 6


  • 183


  • AL660

    CAO Course Code

Why take this course?

If you have a strong passion and interest in food then this culinary arts course is for you. This course will appeal to students who want to make a career for themselves in the hospitality industry. The course is a very dynamic and hands on, which combines theory and practical subjects to equip you for the world of cooking. The hospitality industry is one that is evolving all the time and is very rewarding. This programme will prepare you to work as a professional chef in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Students in the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure are eligible to take part in annual international fieldtrips. In the last fewyears we have visited Italy, Spain, France, China and Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Shanghai.

What will I experience?

  • This programme teaches students how to cook, prepare and serve food.
  • Each class will teach you specific skills, beginning with basic ingredient identification. Our culinary arts lecturers will help you train your senses, guiding you through an incredible range of tastes and flavours from herbs and condiments to vegetables and meats.
  • Your progression will continue through the development of culinary techniques such as knife skills, cooking processes, pastry and baking, larder and restaurant service.
  • Most of the culinary experience will be on classical French cuisine, however you will get to prepare food from around the world, including Spanish, Greek, Chinese, American and Italian cuisine.
  • Your practical classes will be backed up with theory, for example, food safety and hygiene, menu planning and nutrition.

What opportunities might it lead to?

  • You could continue your studies and go on to study a BA in Culinary Arts and on to a BA Hons in Culinary Entrepreneurship and eventually a masters.·
  • You could also decide to study hotel management where you would eligible to go into second year of the BA in Hotel and Leisure Management.
  • In the culinary sector there are many job opportunities, such as working in hotels, restaurants, public houses, cruise ships or hospitals catering to name but a few.
  • You may decide after a few years working in the industry that you want to open up your own business.
  • You may want to become a head chef or sous chef in some of the leading hotels or restaurants in Ireland or aboard.
  • Or you may become a celebrity chef and have your own cookery programme and write cookery books!!
  • Having a culinary arts qualification is a passport to travel and work in any hospitality organisation around the world.

Additional Information

Assessment Information

We place a lot of emphasis on student support and so we aim to provide a learning environment that is both stimulating and academically challenging, whilst also supporting your learning. You will encounter a range of teaching methods- from lectures, workshops and seminars to hands on practical therapy sessions and lab exercises. The course is taught by experienced lecturers with a track record of success in many sectors including the restaurant, hotel and food production industries. We appreciate that different students have different learning styles and so we provide a range of assessment approaches to suit everybody. Here are some of the ways we assess your work:

  • Mini-projects
  • Presentations
  • Group work
  • Examinations
  • Multiple-choice tests
  • Essays
  • Portfolio work

Course Details

Course Fees:
Uniform, knives and materials fees, approx €400.
Course Duration:
2 Years
Registration Closing Date:


Course Commencement Date:


CAO Course Code:
Cut Off CAO Points:
Median CAO Points:
Course Award:
Higher Certificate in Arts
Course NFQ Level:
Level 6
Dept of Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Studies
Minimum Entry Requirements:

Grade O6 at ordinary level in five subjects in the Leaving Certificate examination. One of these subjects must be English.


Any QQI level 5 qualification is acceptable.

Lecturer Testimonial

Brian O'Ruairc, Lecturer in Culinary Arts Profile Image

Brian O'Ruairc, Lecturer in Culinary Arts

Brian O'Ruairc is a graduate of the Culnary School in Killybegs, Thames Valley University, Slough & the City and Guilds Advanced Craft Cookery.

Student Testimonial

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Patrick Walsh, Advanced Certificate in Professional Cookery

If you are truly passionate about food and want to become a great chef, then AIT is the best college to help you achieve your career goals.

Student Testimonial

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Anna Pilska, Diploma in Restaurant Management, 2015

"The Diploma in Restaurant Management gave me the best professional preparation and confidence in my work performance. I had many years experience in restaurants before, but that course opened my mind to what I was doing right or wrong."

Student Testimonial

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Patrick McGrath, HC Bar Supervision, 2015

"I really enjoyed this course - I didn't realise how much there was to learn about the bar trade. I have made some great pals up in Athlone. I am now working behind the bar in a five star hotel thanks to Athlone Institute of technology"

Course Structure

Year 1

The first year will introduce you to the main functions of business and provide you with firm foundations of culinary arts.

Core units in this year include:

  • Culinary computer leadership
  • Learning and development for higher education
  • Culinary practice 1A &1B
  • Pastry and baking practice 1A & 1B
  • Nutrition and menu planning
  • Food preparation
  • Food service
  • Placement

In addition students are supported by a Year Tutor.

Year 2

Develop your understanding of the content from year one.

Core units in this year include:

  • Culinary business management
  • Modern gastronomy
  • Global cuisine
  • Culinary practice
  • Environmental management and food safety
  • Buffet presentation
  • Classical and contemporary cuisine
  • Pastry and baking practice

In addition students are supported by a Year Tutor.

Careers & Opportunities

Career Prospects

Work Placement

There are work placement opportunities locally, nationally and internationally. We have excellent links with the following hotels and groups: The Hodson Bay Group (Sheraton Athlone, Hodson Bay, Galway Bay, Hyatt, Dublin), Ballyfin Demense, Mimoza’s Cannes, the Wineport, Knockranny House Hotel Westport and many others, all over the world.

Students who opt to take a work placement overseas are usually eligible for Erasmus + funding to support their travel and subsistence costs. We support all students in obtaining a work placement and you will have support from the college while on placement. Placements are generally paid and take place in summer between your second and third years of study.

Further Study

​Upon completion of the HC Culinary Arts, students who wish may progress to the add-on one year BA Culinary Arts.​ Upon completion of the B.A. Culinary Arts, students can then progress if they wish to the B.A. (Hons) Culinary Entrepreneurship. Both add-on courses can be taken on a full-time (1 year) or part-time basis (2 years). Students can alternatively progress to Year 2 of the B.A. Hotel and Leisure Management or the B.A. Hons Hospitality Management (with international placement)

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Culinary Entrepreneurship

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts (add-on)

Bachelor of Arts

Facility Gallery

The Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure
Hospitality students in the Burj al Arab, Dubai
Hospitality students in the Burj al Arab, Dubai
Training Bar in the Hospitality Building
Training Restaurant in the Hospitality Building
Training Restaurant in the Hospitality Building
HTL Sport Management Students