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3 Best High School Culinary Arts Curriculum Options

February 28th, 2023 | 7 min. read

Mike Cescon

Mike Cescon

With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the iCEV curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.

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Finding the right curriculum is critical to teaching your high school culinary arts course. After all, a strong curriculum will serve your students far better than a simple cookbook—instead, it will teach them the fundamentals, philosophies, and techniques behind great cuisine. 

But where can you find the right culinary arts textbooks and curriculum for your high school class? What topics do they cover, and how much do they cost? 

In this article, you’ll discover three of the best high school culinary arts curriculum options:

  1. The Culinary Professional, 4th Edition
  2. Introduction to Culinary Arts, 4th Edition
  3. Nutrition Essentials: A Personal Approach, 3rd Edition

By the end of this article, you’ll have a thorough understanding of each of these options, so you can choose the best one for your class. 

1. The Culinary Professional, 4th Edition

Authors: John Draz and Christopher Koetke

Copyright: Goodheart-Willcox, 2023

The Culinary Professional, 4th Edition is a comprehensive textbook written to introduce students to the knowledge necessary to work in the culinary industry. It focuses on helping students practice skills and learn essential concepts so they can graduate ready to begin careers as professional chefs. 

This culinary arts textbook is divided into 32 chapters spread across six sections:

  1. Kitchen EssentialsThe Culinary Professional
  2. Understanding the Industry
  3. Culinary Essentials
  4. Ingredients, Preparation, and Presentation
  5. In the Bakeshop
  6. Beyond Cooking

The chapters within these sections include photos of cooking tools and ingredients, step-by-step cooking instructions, activities, worksheets, and even a guide on creating a professional portfolio to help students secure jobs after graduating. 

In addition, these resources are specifically correlated to certifications offered by NOCTI and Precision Exams, including Culinary Arts Cook and Culinary I, II, and III.

Who Is This Textbook Intended For, and How Much Does It Cost?

The Culinary Professional is a good choice for high school instructors looking to teach students the fundamentals of culinary arts and prepare them to enter the career field. With its focus on certification alignment, this textbook is a solid fit for culinary teachers who want to help students earn professional credentials. 

You can purchase a hardcover edition of The Culinary Professional for $128 on Goodheart-Willcox’s website. Alternatively, you can rent a digital edition for $64 per year. 

2. Introduction to Culinary Arts, 4th Edition

Authors: Culinary Institute of America

Copyright: Savvas, 2020

Introduction to Culinary Arts, 4th Edition is a foundational curriculum that helps train students in a wide range of culinary skills, from technique and theory to sanitation and kitchen management. This curriculum is administered by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), one of the leading organizations when it comes to training the next generation of chefs. 

This culinary arts curriculum is divided into 24 chapters across six units. These units are: 

  1. Kitchen BasicsCulinary Arts Introduction – Savvas Learning Company
  2. Culinary Basics
  3. Culinary Applications
  4. Breads and Desserts
  5. Nutrition and Menus
  6. Culinary Careers

These chapters and sections include resources like test banks, illustrations, photos, chapter reviews, PowerPoint presentations, activities, food prep techniques, and safety considerations. 

One important point to keep in mind is that this curriculum is delivered in a blended format, making use of both printed textbooks and digital resources. If you want to use these materials to their fullest degree, then your students should likely have access to computers in the classroom.

Who Is This Curriculum Intended For, and How Much Does It Cost? 

Introduction to Culinary Arts is a strong fit for teachers looking for a blended foundational curriculum for their high school courses. Unlike other resources on this list, this curriculum incorporates digital elements that can make it more engaging than a simple textbook. 

In addition, this curriculum is aligned with YouScience’s Culinary Management and Food & Nutrition exams. This makes it a good choice for instructors teaching those exams. 

You can purchase a student edition of Introduction to Culinary Arts for $79.99 from Savvas’ website. Alternatively, access to the eText version can be purchased for $24.99

3. Nutrition Essentials: A Personal Approach, 3rd Edition

Author: Wendy J. Schiff

Copyright: McGraw Hill, 2021

Nutrition Essentials: A Personal Approach is a culinary arts textbook that grants students an understanding of various types of food, how to prepare them, and the nutrition each provides. Unlike some of the other resources on this list, this book focuses less on culinary arts and more on making healthier food choices in daily life. 

This culinary arts textbook is divided into 11 sections: 

  1. Food Is More Than Something to Eat
  2. Nutrition Information: Fact or Fiction?Nutrition Essentials: A Personal Approach
  3. Making More Nutritious Choices
  4. How Food Becomes You
  5. Carbohydrates: Fuel and Fiber
  6. Lipids: Focusing on Fats and Cholesterol
  7. Proteins: Life’s Building Blocks
  8. Vitamins: Nutrients That Multitask
  9. Key Minerals, Water, and the Nonnutrient Alcohol
  10. Nutrition for a Healthy Weight and Fit Body
  11. Nutrition for Your Life, Environment, and World

These sections include resources like food prep instructions, test banks, and visual components. In addition, you can use McGraw Hill Connect to access an optional digital companion to the textbook. This will provide you with further materials, like presentation slides and instructor manuals. 

Who Is This Textbook Intended For, and How Much Does It Cost? 

Nutrition Essentials is a solid choice for teachers focusing less on traditional culinary arts and more on teaching students the essentials of healthy cooking and consumption. If you want your students to be self-sufficient cooks with a thorough understanding of food and nutrition, this book may serve you well.  

However, if you teach a culinary arts course designed to prepare students to enter the culinary field as professionals, this textbook probably wouldn’t be the right fit. Students do learn cooking techniques in Nutrition Essentials, but generally, the book focuses more on personal cooking than professional. 

You can purchase a print edition of Nutrition Essentials for $141.11 from McGraw Hill’s website. On the other hand, an eBook edition costs $82 to buy and $52 to rent for six months. 

Need Another High School Culinary Arts Curriculum Option?

In this article, you’ve discovered some of the best high school culinary arts curriculum options on the market. Using one of these choices in your course, your students will be well-equipped to succeed in the culinary industry or in their personal kitchens. 

However, if none of these seem like the best fit for your class, then check out iCEV’s Culinary Arts course!

The iCEV Culinary Arts course is a comprehensive, year-long curriculum you can quickly implement in your classroom. It comes with dozens of lesson plans and hundreds of activities, videos, and more, designed to make your students experts in the kitchen:

Discover the Culinary Arts Course