DVC has successfully prepared students for culinary careers for over 30 years. Culinary arts students learn by doing, building skills that can then be applied in a number of food industry settings. Students also gain experience through a required internship program.
While most DVC classes are currently being taught fully online due to COVID-19, the culinary arts program offers a rare exception.
“Hands-on culinary arts classes are held in a small-group, socially distanced setting on campus. Students also prepare food at home.
They are given a box of ingredients and instructions for what to create. The students prepare and cook the food at home, and submit a video for a grade,” said Chef Squire Davidson, the culinary arts program manager for DVC.
DVC’s culinary program is known across the region. Students choose one of three program tracks – baking and pastry, culinary or restaurant management. Each track can lead to either an associate in science degree or a certificate of achievement.
Davidson notes that the quality of the DVC program rivals that of private culinary schools, at a better price for students.
“Having recently taught at Johnson and Wales University in Denver, I can say that there is no difference in the classroom experience or the education quality provided at DVC. The same COVID-19 protocols have been adapted across by all culinary education programs,” said Davidson.
Degrees and certificates
Associate in science degrees:
- Hospitality Studies – Baking and Pastry
- Hospitality Studies – Culinary Arts
- Hospitality Studies – Restaurant Management
Certificates of Achievement:
- Baking and Pastry
- Culinary Arts
- Restaurant Management
For more information about the culinary arts program at DVC, visit www.dvc.edu/culinary.
- Cookbook Author
- Food Stylist
- Kitchen Manager
- Line Cook
- Caterer Baker Assistant
- Baker Production Finisher
- Bakery Entrepreneur
- Bakery Manager
- Pastry Chef
- Pastry Decorator
- Catering Manager
- Dining Room Manager
- Front of House Manager
- Purchasing Specialist
- Restaurant Manager Trainee
- Restaurant Owner/Operator
Hospitality Studies – Culinary Arts
Soon Gi Hwang
Soon Gi Hwang grew up in South Korea and arrived in California in 2013. He began as a psychology student at DVC. He transferred to UC Berkeley and obtained his bachelor’s degree, but then decided to return to a different, yet familiar path.
“My father is a successful pastry chef and a bar owner. My mother is a nutritionist. I felt I could no longer postpone pursuing my passion,” said Hwang.
Hwang returned to DVC to start his culinary career.
“While at DVC before, I used to grab food from the morning and lunch express line. The quality of meals was beyond my expectation. I also saw close bonds between the culinary faculty and students,” said Hwang.
Hwang also felt welcomed and supported by the DVC International Students Office and the large population of international students at DVC.
“California has the biggest immigrant population in the world. Learning about European, North and South American, and West Asian cuisine can be overwhelming. But here I can learn the true form of each cuisine and develop their flavor profile on the tip of my tongue,” said Hwang.
Hwang truly enjoys the DVC culinary program, despite some of the limitations caused by COVID-19.
“With smaller classes, we have a high chef to student ratio per classroom. We are able to build even closer bonds and connection with the faculty and each other,” said Hwang.
Hwang feels that giving back is an important part of being a DVC student.
“Before the pandemic, I volunteered with Disability Support Services. I supported other culinary students by taking notes for them. In the kitchen, I interpret the instructions so they understand how to make the lesson’s recipes safely,” said Hwang.
Hwang plans to bring that spirit of giving as he embarks on the next step in his career path.
“I want to establish a training program where accessibility and culinary art meet. The doors will be open to all students, even those with mental and physical challenges. I’ll start by working as a chef in non-profit culinary organizations so that I can learn how to structure, budget and run an organization similar to what I have planned,” said Hwang.
Culinary Arts Students Stock DVC Food Pantry with Fresh Meals to Go
Many families are struggling due to economic challenges. This is especially true today due to job loss resulting from COVID-19. Studies show that students who lack proper nutrition can have trouble focusing on school work. This can be compounded if students are worried about where they will find their next meal.
The DVC Food Pantry serves as a free supplemental food resource for all students who may need it. The pantry is stocked with canned and packaged goods. In addition, fresh “meals to go” are provided by DVC culinary arts students.
“Culinary students prepare a packaged ‘meal kit’ that feeds four people. The meal kit usually has four servings of a protein with a sauce, starch, vegetable, and a garnish. The meals are delivered to the food pantry for distribution,” said Chef Squire Davidson, the culinary arts program manager for DVC.
Culinary arts student Soon Gi Hwang is proud to contribute to the DVC Food Pantry.
“The DVC Food Pantry provides balanced meals for students and families. We’ve fed more than 720 people since the start of the fall term. The most amazing part is that we do not open any jar or pre-prepared food products. We do almost everything from scratch including stocks, sauces and garnish. And desserts as well,” said Hwang.
The DVC Food Pantry was made possible by the California Chancellor’s Office Hunger Free allocation, DVC Foundation donations from faculty, staff and community members, DVC Retirees Association Board, and grants from Kaiser Permanente, Whole Foods 365, Safeway, and the John Muir Community Health Fund.
The Diablo Valley College Food Pantry opened March 2018. It was established in the Student Union Multicultural Center through the leadership of DVC’s Associated Students in partnership with the English Department, College Administration, Student Life Office, Foundation Office and the Contra Costa/Solano County Food Bank.
For more information about DVC Food Pantry, visit www.dvc.edu/foodpantry.