Lifelong Learning Programs

Open to the general public as well as professionals, Boston University’s Lifelong Learning and Food & Wine Experiential Programs offer non-credit certificates in the culinary arts; seminars in food, wine, and the arts; studies in wine, beer, and spirits; gastronomic tours; culinary programs for children and young adults; and opportunities for those over the age of 58. Certificate programs in the culinary arts, food studies, cheese studies, and wine studies can also be taken for credit and applied to the MLA in Gastronomy.

Culinary Arts

Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts

Created by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin in 1989, the 14-week Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts is an experiential program in which students learn classical, modern, and ethnic techniques of food preparation from some of the world’s finest chefs, industry professionals, and teachers. Core instructors are Jacques Pépin, Chris Douglass, Jeff Fournier, Michael Leviton, Barry Maiden, Janine Sciarappa, and John Vyhnanek. Guest faculty have included Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, Jody Adams, Joanne Chang, Ana Sortun, Jasper White, Mary Ann Esposito, Jamie Bissonnette, Jeremy Sewell, Michael Leviton, and other notable chefs.

Through lecture, demonstration, hands-on cooking experience, and field trips, the program covers ethnic and regional cuisine, the history of food, menu planning, equipment handling, nutrition, food writing, the economics of running a restaurant, the study of wines, food safety, and sustainability.

Only 12 students are admitted per semester. Upon successful completion, students receive a Certificate in the Culinary Arts from Boston University, or eight credits toward the MLA in Gastronomy.

Beverage Studies Programs

Offered through the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center

The Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center was established to foster educational programs exploring all aspects of wine, including viticulture; enology; wine making; wine history; economics; distribution and marketing; pairing with food; and the psychological, physiological, and cultural phenomena of wine consumption. The Center also covers programs in beer and spirits.

Certificates in Wine Studies

The Certificates in Wine Studies consist of four levels of coursework and expertise. Students gain personal enrichment in all four levels, while certification in Levels 2, 3, and 4 enhances one’s opportunity to work in the wine industry and hones knowledge for those already in the industry. These courses may be taken for credit in the MLA in Gastronomy as MET ML 651, MET ML 652, MET ML 653, and MET ML 654.

  • Level 1: Fundamentals of Wine—An Introduction
  • Level 2: A Comprehensive Survey of Wine
  • Level 3: Mastering Wine—Skill Development
  • Level 4: The Wine Trade—Global, National, and Local Perspectives

Studies in Beer and Spirits

This class will cover the history, production techniques, and classifications of all the major beer and spirits categories. Under the tutelage of Master of Wine Sandy Block, VP of beverage at Legal Sea Foods, students taste, and become thoroughly familiarized with, the differences among beers and spirits, learn about the ingredients that create these classic beverages, and discuss trends in the beer and spirits industries, in the United States and worldwide. This survey course is ideal for people who have an interest in beer and spirits, but would like to have a greater in-depth understanding of the richness and diversity comprising these categories.

Introduction to Wine Making

This special course is only offered once a year during the fall semester. Students will learn how to ferment, mature, and bottle wine at the Boston Winery facility in Dorchester, Mass., under the tutelage of Bill Nesto, Master of Wine. Hands-on experience will accompany comprehensive winemaking lectures. Students will have the opportunity to acquire finished wine post-bottling. Prerequisite is Wine Studies Level 2 or equivalent experience, subject to instructor approval.

The Vineyard Cycle at Turtle Creek Winery

This course examines first-hand the process of growing grapes to make wine. Kip Kumler, owner and winemaker at Turtle Creek Winery, leads this seminar series at his vineyard in Lincoln, Mass. Four classes will follow the winemaker’s cycle throughout the year, from the season’s beginning in spring, to growth and canopy maturation in the summer, and concluding with the approach of the harvest and winter dormancy in the fall.

A History of Distilled Spirits

Ken Albala, professor of history at University of the Pacific and renowned food historian, leads this class that traces the origin of distillates from the Middle Ages to the present day—recounting manufacture, transport, and marketing techniques as well as social attitudes toward alcohol and the religious, medical, and cultural manifestations of drinking practices. The course will also cover how spirits are used in cocktails. Hands-on workshops and tastings will accompany the lectures.

Seminars in Food, Wine & the Arts

Seminars in Food, Wine & the Arts offers programs in the culinary arts, wine studies, music, visual arts, and the humanities. Guest faculty include world-renowned chefs and gastronomic experts, winemakers, musicians, museum curators, art historians, and scholars in the humanities. Seminars vary in length and include cooking demonstrations, lectures on viticulture, hands-on cooking classes, gastronomic tours, dinners and performances, talks, and lectures in conjunction with museum exhibits.

Seminars in the Arts

These lectures, discussions, and performances offer thematically arranged surveys of music, visual and performing arts, history, literature, and more.

Dining Out: Feasts with the Pros

Experience special menus, created by extraordinarily talented chefs and experts in wine and spirits, each reflecting the theme of their individual dining establishments.

Hands-On Cooking

Enjoy expert guidance as you work in small groups alongside master chefs.

Cooking Up Culture

Cooking Up Culture is a program for children and young adults designed to build an understanding of cultures and their cuisines though education.

Classes include cooking demonstrations for school groups of up to 60 children, and smaller, hands-on classes in which the youngsters prepare representative foods from specific regions or cultures around the world. These programs are offered year-round.

Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies and Gastronomy

Academic in nature and delivered by experts in the fields of food studies and gastronomy, these lectures are open to the public, students, faculty, and staff, and include receptions.

Special Events

There is always something unique in store, whether it is an upcoming conference or gala, a special class for children, or a neighborhood culinary tour.

Tastings & Demonstrations

Watch and taste as the best chefs, wine connoisseurs, and mixologists demonstrate their recipes, skills, and insights.

Customized Food and Wine Events

Customized food and wine events include private, hands-on cooking and baking classes, wine classes, or demonstrations with some of the finest chefs. Our state-of-the-art kitchen can accommodate small groups for hands-on classes, or up to 90 for demonstrations.

Professional Certificate Programs

Professional Course in the Basics of Starting a Food Business

John Vyhnanek—restaurant consultant, small business owner, culinary instructor, and chef—introduces the process of starting a food business, whether a café, pizzeria, pub, restaurant, retail store, or personal chef business. Food industry professionals will also join the class to share their hands-on knowledge and insights. To receive the Certificate in the Basics of Starting a Food Business, students must attend all sessions and prepare a business plan, to be submitted at the last session (all business plans will be held in confidence).

Certificate in Cheese Studies

This in-depth exploration of cheese focuses on the study of artisanal cheeses from many regions of the world. Students learn the traditional method of cheese-making and the influences that affect the final product, including species and breed, feed, milking cycle, culture and rennet, aging, and ripening. Each class features multiple cheese tastings, paired with wine and artisanal condiments. The class includes a visit to a farm to study the cheese-making process firsthand. After successful completion of the course and final exam, students receive a Boston University certificate. This course may be taken for credit in the MLA in Gastronomy as MET ML 705.


Evergreen is a specially designed course of study and activities for persons over the age of 58, including lectures, discussions, and artistic and cultural events. Faculty members and distinguished guest instructors teach in both the lecture and workshop format.

Evergreen participants may also enroll as auditors in most University credit courses on a space-available basis for a nominal registration fee. Visit the Evergreen website for details.