How to Get Started
To get started in the Food and Hospitality Institute, complete the admissions process at El Centro College.
When you meet with an academic advisor, mention your interest in the Food and Hospitality Institute so he or she can help you determine which courses you should take.
If you are planning to earn an associate degree or certificate, please note that you must complete 25 percent of your degree requirements at the college awarding the degree (El Centro).
Dallas County residents pay $156 per three-hour class — that’s $52 per credit hour, or just $624 for a full semester load of 12 credit hours.
Compare that to what you’d pay elsewhere! See our tuition rates for tuition according to your place of residency.
Scholarships are also available from several industry organizations.
Rising Star Program
If you are a Dallas County high school graduating senior, you may qualify for Rising Star funds to help pay for this program. The Rising Star program offers academic support services and up to $4,000 for tuition and books, if you have established financial need.
Courses Offered (Curriculum)
Our catalog provides detailed information about the courses we offer and the courses required for the following associate degrees and certificates:
- Bakery/Pastry – Associate in Applied Sciences Degree
- Culinary Arts – Associate in Applied Sciences Degree
- Food and Hospitality Service – Associate in Applied Sciences Degree
- Bakery/Pastry Certificate
- Basic Culinary Skills Certificate
- Certified Food and Hospitality Manager Certificate
- Food and Hospitality Service Certificate
Accreditation and Affiliations
Each of the Dallas County Community College District’s seven colleges — Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland — is individually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
El Centro’s Food and Hospitality Institute is also accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the American Culinary Federation.
Our food service curriculum was developed and is continuously monitored by an industry advisory committee composed of members of:
- Dallas Dietetic Association
- Greater Dallas Restaurant Association
- Hotel Association of North Texas
- Les Dames d’Escoffier International
- Lone Star Chapter of the Club Managers Association of America
- Retail Bakers of America
- Texas Chefs Association
Get a taste of the Food and Hospitality Institute — including program photos, information about our Thursday luncheons and more — on the Appetizers page.
Not sure exactly what you’re looking for? Check out our other programs in Hospitality and Tourism, such as Travel, Exposition and Meeting Management.
Other Degree and Certificate Options
The colleges of DCCCD offer nearly 350 career and technical degrees and certificates, plus more than 50 academic degrees.
Developing Skills for Success
The Kitchen Classroom Lab is a replica of a commercial kitchen with a full complement of all the equipment you’ll find on the job, set up for both small- and large-volume production. There is a separate bakery and pastry kitchen. Both are regularly inspected by the city of Dallas’ Health Department as a commercial kitchen operation.
The computer lab offers computer-assisted programs in such areas as safety and sanitation, supervision, purchasing, costing and other industry-related programs. Students also have Internet access and a college email account. Lab assistants qualified in both computer technology and the food service industry are available at all times to help with questions.
The lab is also the place to get the latest information on daily changes around the college, apply for industry scholarships such as those offered by the Texas Restaurant Association and Roundtable for Women in Food Service, and enter contests and competitions. The computer lab is located in room C-150 and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and on Fridays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The college each spring sponsors “Bits and Bites," a community event and fundraiser for friends and supporters of the Food and Hospitality Institute. Local restaurants and beverage vendors showcase their sweet and savory offerings at this tasting experience that also offers great networking opportunities for our culinary students.
See more about the “Bits and Bites” Meet the Chef tasting experience.
Cooperative education and/or a practicum, depending on the specific program, plays a key role in all Food and Hospitality programs.
Our faculty members not only have relevant degrees but also have real-world experience in the culinary profession, which makes them able to relate to the challenges you face at school and at work. Our instructors work closely with you one-on-one, helping you to apply new techniques to your job and to map a career plan to land your ultimate dream job in the food service industry.
Food and Hospitality Institute courses are designed for direct entry into the workforce. However, if you are interested in earning a degree at a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Services website for guidance on the transfer process.
An articulation (transfer) agreement is also in place with Texas Woman’s University. Ask your academic advisor or counselor about specific conditions if you think you might like to transfer your associate degree from El Centro to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Links to Additional Information
View links to culinary-related websites.
Information Seminars and Tours of the Food and Hospitality Institute
All prospective students interested in the Food and Hospitality Institute are strongly encouraged to attend an information session. For times and registration information, call El Centro’s:
- Food and Hospitality Institute Kitchen, 214-860-2217
- Business and Public Services Division office, 214-860-2202
- Counseling Office, 214-860-2084
Supplies and Uniforms
Find out what supplies and uniforms are required for:
If you have questions about the Food and Hospitality Institute that aren’t answered on our website, please feel free to contact us.