Food & Wine Experiential Programs

Boston University’s Food & Wine Experiential Programs offer non-credit certificates in the culinary arts, wine studies, cheese studies, and starting a food business. We also offer professional studies in beer and spirits, food photography, and winemaking, in addition to tastings and demonstrations, hands-on cooking classes for adults, and Cooking Up Culture, a cooking program for children and teens. Students pursuing the MLA in Gastronomy may take the culinary arts, wine studies, and cheese studies courses for academic credit.

Culinary Arts

Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts

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

Through lectures, demonstrations, hands-on cooking experience, and field trips, the program covers global and regional cuisine, the history of food, menu planning, 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. Students in the MLA in Gastronomy program may also earn 8 credits toward their degree.

Beverage Studies Programs

Offered through the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center

The Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center was established in 1996 to promote the development of 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 Wine Studies Program consists of four levels of coursework. All levels enhance knowledge necessary for professional development in the wine industry, an understanding of the role of wine in culture, and the sensory appreciation of wine. These courses may be taken for credit toward the MLA in Gastronomy.

  • 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 covers the history, production techniques, and classifications of all the major beer and spirits categories. Students taste, and become thoroughly familiarized with, the differences among beers and spirits, learn about the ingredients that create these standard beverages, and discuss trends in the beer and spirits industries. This class is taught by Sandy Block, one of only two Masters of Wine in New England, and VP of beverage at Legal Sea Foods, where he oversees the company’s wine, spirits, and beer program.

Introduction to Wine Making

Students will learn how to ferment, mature, and bottle wines at the Boston Winery facility in Dorchester, Mass. Hands-on experience will accompany lectures about harvest parameters, crushing and maceration, fermentation, maturation, bottling, labeling, and storage. Students will document the progress and report to the course instructor and their fellow student winemakers as they navigate the exciting and sometimes unpredictable art and science of vinification. After the final class, Boston Winery will continue to mature, and then bottle, wines that students have worked on. Students will have the opportunity to acquire some of the finished wine post bottling.

Seminars in Food, Wine & the Arts

Tastings and Demonstrations

Watch and taste as the best chefs, wine connoisseurs, and mixologists demonstrate their recipes and techniques, and share their insights into the world of food and wine. Past events have featured Mary Ann Esposito, Masaharu Morimoto, Jacques Pépin, and Ming Tsai.

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.

Hands-On Cooking for Adults

These hands-on cooking classes provide students with the opportunity to work closely with renowned chefs in our professional-grade kitchen. Students work in small groups under the guidance of the visiting chef to execute recipes from start to finish, and conclude by sharing the meal they have just prepared.

Cooking Up Culture for Kids and Teens

Cooking Up Culture is a program for children and young adults designed to explore cultures through their cuisines.

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

Dining Out: Feasts with the Pros

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

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.

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 60 for demonstrations.

Professional Certificate Programs

Professional Course in the Basics of Starting a Food Business

Whether you want to start a café, pizzeria, pub, restaurant, or personal chef business, you will need a plan and expert advice. John Vyhnanek, restaurant consultant, small business owner, culinary instructor, and chef, will guide you through the process of starting a food business. Food industry professionals will also join the class to share hands-on knowledge and insights. To receive a certificate, 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 varieties and production will look at an international array of cheeses from their beginnings on the farm to the finished product. 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 Certificate in Cheese Studies from Boston University. This course may be taken for credit toward the MLA in Gastronomy.