CASA The Culinary Apprenticeship School (800) 300-0016 Click for menu.

CASA, The Chef Apprentice School of the Arts is a program of The Recording Radio Film Connection & CASA Schools.

The CASA Gourmet Chef Program Curriculum

 Gourmet Chef Being a gourmet chef is about so much more than following a recipe. For you, food is a creative endeavor in which, ultimately, the only rule is there are no rules. Tastes, aromas, and presentations all come together to grab the senses and give others an experience they’ll never forget.   The CASA Gourmet Chef Program is designed to place you in a completely immersive environment where you’ll learn side-by-side with a PRO CHEF in his or her restaurant.   Why learn in an overpriced culinary school when you can learn in an actual PRO KITCHEN as an apprentice? With CASA, you learn ONE on ONE in a real kitchen. We will give you private lessons while the restaurant is closed or slow. As you learn privately, you will be studying and cooking at home too! Then, after you complete all your recipes (79 of them to be exact) and once you complete all your private lessons with the PRO CHEF, we will place you in a real restaurant where you will be thrown into the fire (not literally of course) as an EXTERN. Here you will cook on the line for real customers.   So with our approach you get everything you will need to succeed and for a lot less tuition and time. To recap:  
First – PRIVATE LEARNING in a safe and secure restaurant while it is closed or slow so you can learn in comfort,
Second – cook another 79 recipes at home while being overseen by a Culinary Pro.
Next – Get placed in a real LIVE RESTAURANT in your city or town and learn in the real world as an extern.
  All this in 6 months and for 75% less tuition costs than most all other Culinary Schools. 


  What you can expect from the program.   Family/Casual DiningOur courses cover everything from how to get food safety certified to learning the equipment to choosing, preparing, and cooking produce, poultry, meat, and more. While much of your coursework will be performed in the kitchen, there will be required reading, research, and other work away from the restaurant.   You will also follow video/on-demand streaming tutorials. As you progress through the program, you will be expected to create or recreate what you’ve been learning and document your progress on provided templates. There will also be quizzes along with required reading in addition to off-site food preparation.   With CASA, in-person learning in a professional kitchen or restaurant is coupled with demonstrations, video instruction, and more. On your own, you practice what you’ve learned. As you progress in your acquisition of skills and culinary knowledge, you phase into building industry experience under the direction of your mentor, a professional chef, at the externship location i.e., the kitchen and restaurant where you complete your externship.   Your mentor and Academic Facilitator will work with you on structuring a specific schedule, including instructor-led weekly instruction. You will be required to complete ServSafe training and certification before entering the program. And while CASA will work with you and your schedule (we understand “Life” happens), you will be expected to make in-person learning a priority.   9 At the start, you will familiarize yourself with the different stations of a kitchen, including the walk-in refrigerator, and other equipment, as well as how to receive incoming goods. You’ll learn how to develop menus, recipes, and identify product quality. This includes meat, seafood, produce, dairy, dry goods, and more.   The CASA Gourmet Chef Program will then move into soups, sauces, and stocks and start working with different cooking methods. You will begin to know when to grill and when to boil, when to roast and when to steam as well as understand how dry rubs, wet marinades, and other preparations impact the final result.   You will also learn about preparing cold foods, charcuterie plates, hors d’oeuvres, salads, sandwiches, and more. During this five to six-month program, you will be able to create menus, design meals, and work all areas of a kitchen. And you’ll do it in a fully immersive environment, working with professionals at each station.  

Learning Environments

Private Culinary Bootcamp: Practical Application

A real restaurant or other commercial culinary facility will serve as your resource to execute various practical assignments. After viewing demonstrations from your mentor live and in person (or via remote, your choice) you will get your hands dirty and start cooking, from prep work to hands on instruction to final presentation. This is YOU in a real restaurant cooking and learning privately for 25 hours of in person learning over 12 weeks.

Lab Hours in Your Home: More Practical Application and Practice, Practice, Practice.

Alongside the above instruction in the PRO KITCHEN, you will be practicing and researching, cooking and cooking some more at home! After viewing demonstrations from your mentor, you will recreate prep work, recipe instructions, and final presentation. Documentation of these assignments (a templated blog post) will be submitted electronically to your Academic Facilitator a the school.

Externship Hours

Once you’ve finished all your private learning in the restaurant and all of your coursework at home, you’re ready for the big time! We will schedule and you will spend several hours a week in a working PRO kitchen in a real restaurant with your mentor, gaining real-world experience, cooking, observing, preparing and ordering, more cooking, etc. This is the hands-on experience part that we are so well known for. Depending on your success, you may be offered opportunities to fulfill additional responsibilities separate from your coursework. This is the stage where many of our students are offered paid work and their lives are changed forever. By finishing up your studies as an extern in a real world restaurant and because we keep you out of career-crushing student debt, we guarantee you a front row seat to hiring opportunities without saddling you with life altering lifelong debt obligations.   And remember, the EXTERNSHIP HOURS are offered only after you have finished Culinary Boot Camp (see above) and only after you have fulfilled completion of all your coursework and homework, including cooking the aforementioned 79 recipes (see above). By the time you get to the Externship stage, you will have acquired the experience you need to make the most out of your externship. And yes, we guarantee placement inside a real restaurant at this stage of your learning experience.

Program Schedule

  The CASA Gourmet Chef Program consists of 20 courses, culminating in an immersive, 100-hour externship with your mentor in their kitchen or restaurant. Each course requires on- and off-site instructor-led learning, self-learning via on-demand videos, lab times, and more.  
Course One Introduction to Culinary Arts   Learn key kitchen positions, understand the Brigade System, and define core culinary principles.
Course Two Menu, Measuring, and Recipes   Learn the three main menu types, understand “standardized recipes,” and measure ingredients.
Course Three Equipment Identification and Knife Skills   Identify/describe a variety of knives and other tools and their uses as well as types of refrigeration.
Course Four Stocks, Sauces, and Soups   Learn the five Mother Sauces, prepare stocks, and identify soup ingredients. Critique menus from existing restaurants.
Pastry Shop
Course Five Cooking Methods   Identify frying techniques for different foods and understand the differences between roasting, baking, and sauteing.
Course Six Introduction to Vegetables and Herbs   Name and define fresh herbs and standard vegetable cuts and understand their importance.
Course Seven Vegetable Cooking Methods   Define several techniques for cooking vegetables, as well as seasoning and flavoring combinations.
Course Eight Dry Goods Identification and Cooking Methods   Learn the FIFO principle when working with dry goods and identifying different dry pastas.
38 Gourmet Chef
Course Nine Potato Cookery   Learn the three basic kinds of potatoes, how water and starch content affects each during cooking, and choose the best for baking.
Course Ten Meat and Game Identification   Understand how the USDA grades their beef and how technologies have improved the overall quality of the product.
Course Eleven Poultry Identification and Cookery   Learn how new innovations have helped the poultry business and how to properly prepare chicken for a meal.
Course Twelve Meat Alternatives   Understand how alternatives are required for those with dietary restrictions and how to prepare those alternate foods for diners.
Artisan Baking
Course Thirteen Fish and Shellfish Identification and Cookery   Identify flatfish, round fish, and shellfish. Prepare an entree and appetizer containing fish.
Course Fourteen Pasta and Dumpling Cookery   Identify differences between dried and fresh pasta. Describe ten different kinds of pasta, and how eggs affect pasta overall.
Course Fifteen Egg and Dairy ID and Egg Cookery   Learn general guidelines for purchasing and storage, how to identify different omelets, and in-shell cooking.
Course Sixteen Charcuterie and Garde Manger   Learn Garde Manger operation, how to tell the difference between the four kinds of forcemeat, and preparation.
Family/Casual Dining
Course Seventeen Salad Dressings, Salads, Sandwiches   Identify and prepare elements of a sandwich. Discuss different cultures and their sandwich-style foods.
Course Eighteen Hors-d’oeuvre and Appetizers   Learn the basic differences and similarities between appetizers and hors-d’oeuvres and how functional garnishes complement the flavor.
Course Nineteen ServSafe® Safe Food Handler Training   Gain an understanding of basic food safety principles, as measured by the ServSafe Food Handler assessment.
Course Twenty Externship   Put everything you’ve learned during previous courses to work. Identify workstations, prepare dishes, and evaluate a busy lunch or dinner at an externship restaurant.
Food Stylist

Graduation and Launching Your Career in Culinary

At the end of the CASA Gourmet Chef Program, you’ll have gained exposure to how a professional kitchen or restaurant operates, from bringing in the ingredients in the morning to closing duties at night including: the different workstations, how to identify different cuts of meat, how to select the freshest produce, and the different ways of preparing products.   During this time you’ll also be cultivating something else: Opportunities. As you work your way around the kitchen, you’ll be learning alongside others already making a living in the culinary industry. Show them your passion, determination, and responsibility when jobs open up, your name could be the one they remember.   This isn’t just about learning about the career you want. It’s about making the connections within the industry that can help you find your first job. The culinary world can be a tight-knit community at times, and when potential employers ask about you, how do you want to be remembered? If you work hard enough, you may just work yourself into a career.
If you’re interested in any of the following careers in culinary, please contact our Admissions Department:

Pastry Chef
Artisan Baking

Coursework is delivered via distance education and completed at a location determined by the student. Externship apprenticeship locations may be up to 60 miles away from the student’s address. The externship/apprenticeship mentor will work with each student on structuring a specific schedule. The student agrees that he/she/they will be available to meet with the mentor for a minimum of two sessions per week.   *based on comparison of CASA tuition costs vs. top ten associate degree-awarding culinary private schools. Source: Best Culinary Schools


CASA Schools provides affordable, unique education models coupled with mentor-based (externship) programs that can be engaged remotely or in person.

New! Finance your education with Climb.
Get approved in minutes with no impact to your credit score.