Programs in Food & Wine

Boston University’s Programs in Food & Wine offer non-unit certificates in the culinary arts, wine studies, and cheese studies, as well as professional studies in becoming a personal chef, food photography, sustainability, and winemaking. We also offer online classes in the culinary arts and pastry arts, tastings and demonstrations, and Cooking Up Culture, a cooking program for children and teens. Students pursuing the MA in Gastronomy may take the culinary arts, wine studies, and cheese studies courses for academic units.

Culinary Arts

Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts

In the spring of 1989, Boston University held the first class in the Certificate Program in the Culinary Arts. Spearheaded by Rebecca Alssid, Julia Child, and Jacques Pépin, this intensive, term-long program was developed to expose students to classic French and American techniques, baking, international cuisines, sustainability, and many more subjects. The unique program merges the best aspects of traditional culinary arts study with the hands-on tutelage of a wide range of chefs—augmented by insight into the food industry as a whole. This model allows students to enter a wide variety of jobs related to food as well as continue their education in the Gastronomy master’s program.

The only one of its kind in the country, Boston University’s full-time culinary arts program is taught entirely by working chefs and experts in the food industry.

The goals of this program are to:

  • Expose dedicated culinary students of all ages to the best professional chefs and teachers in the world of cooking
  • Train students in the basic classical and modern techniques and theories of food production
  • Introduce students to various cultures through their cuisines

Core instructors: Jacques Pépin, Cara Chigazola-Tobin, Chris Douglass, Michael Leviton, Barry Maiden, Kevin O’Donnell, Janine Sciarappa, and Jeremy Sewall

Visiting instructors: Jim Dodge, Deborah Hansen, Seizi Imura, William Kovel, Barton Seaver, David Vargas, and many others

Only 12 students are admitted per term. Upon successful completion, students receive a Certificate in the Culinary Arts from Boston University. Students in the MA in Gastronomy program may also earn 8 units toward their degree.

Professional Pastry Arts Program

BU’s Professional Pastry Arts Program is an intensive, hands-on, 14-week program that provides students with foundational skills and sensory knowledge necessary to launch a career in the pastry arts field, including entry-level positions in restaurants and professional bake shops. Students may also combine the program with other courses, including food writing, recipe testing, food media, and more, to build a foundation that will equip them to start their own food business or pursue careers in related fields. Upon completing the program, students will be expected to demonstrate core concepts in baking theory and illustrate advanced classical and contemporary pastry and confectionery techniques.

Taught entirely by experienced, working pastry chefs, bakers, and experts in the food industry, Boston University’s Professional Pastry Arts Program is the only one of its kind in the country.

  • Learn from the best professional pastry chefs, bakers, and teachers in the world of pastry.
  • Master the basic, classic, and modern techniques.
  • Explore a variety of cultures and types of pastries.

Core instructors: Jim Dodge, Maura Kilpatrick, Lauren Moran, and Janine Sciarappa

Visiting instructors: Priscilla Martel, Brian Mercury, Dee Steffen Chinn, Thiago Silva, William Yosses, and many others

Only 12 students are admitted per term. Students in the MA in Gastronomy program may also earn 8 units 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; winemaking; 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 four-level Wine Studies curriculum at BU’s Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center is open to industry professionals seeking deeper expertise, students who want to explore wine in the broader cultural context of food and cuisine, and people who wish to enter the wine trade. A certificate in Wine Studies is achieved upon successful completion of each level. These courses may be taken for units toward the MA in Gastronomy.

  • Level 1: Fundamentals of Wine—An Introduction
  • Level 2: A Comprehensive Survey of Wine
  • Level 3: Grapevine Varieties and Their Varietal Wines
  • Level 4: The Wine Trade—Global, National, and Local Perspectives

Introduction to Wine Making

This hands-on course is designed to teach students how to make quality artisanal wines for home use and will also serve as a basis for those who wish to pursue subsequent enological studies. Lectures will give students the theoretical knowledge necessary to assess harvesting parameters, process and vinify grapes, and mature, chemically analyze, stabilize, bottle, and label the resulting wine. Students will make wine in collaboration with instructors.

Seminars in Food & Wine

Online Courses in Culinary Arts and Pastry Arts

These fully online, self-paced classes provide exclusive access to:

  • Instructional online videos tailored and filmed specifically for this program
  • A unique library of lectures and presentations
  • Weekly one-on-one meetings with the chef instructor, where you will review your progress from the week, receive constructive feedback and help in correcting your mistakes, and get answers to all your questions
  • A dashboard where you can communicate with other students taking the class

Planning a Personal Chef Business

In this course, students will be guided through the process of developing and maintaining their own personal chef business. Discussions and assignments will cover the daily challenges and opportunities in cooking for multiple clients. We will review topics such as food preparation skills, recipe and menu development, food packaging, cooking approaches, time management, and cooking for special diets. Students will learn how to develop an initial business plan that includes pricing structure, business goals, and marketing strategy. In some face-to-face meetings, we will work in the kitchen and taste and evaluate each other’s make-ahead meals. Students will also present business ideas, recipes, marketing strategies, and more for feedback from the class. Occasional guest speakers will offer insight into the industry by sharing their own unique approaches.


This course of study examines the contemporary food system through a multidisciplinary lens, allowing students to put readings and ideas into culinary practice. By examining the often-competing concerns from other domains—including economic (both micro- and macro-social); social welfare, social justice, and social diversity; health and wellness; food security and insecurity; and resiliency—we can begin to move toward solutions that treat the disease (our food system) and not just the symptoms (domain-specific issues). Students will read widely in the topic area, engage in classroom discussion, and work together in the kitchen to understand hands-on culinary approaches to some of the most important issues of our time.

Tastings and Demonstrations

Each term, experts in the fields of food and wine studies come to BU to exhibit their talents and teach you how to expand your knowledge of food, wine, beer, and other spirits. These assembled culinary and wine luminaries share the benefit of their knowledge, educating palates and offering the discovery of new pleasures. Past events have featured Jacques Pépin, Joanne Chang, Mary Ann Esposito, Chris Fischer, Maura Kilpatrick, Barbara Lynch, Stella Parks, Steven Raichlen, David Tanis, and many others.

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.

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.

Kids’ Summer Cooking Program

Kids who enjoy time in the kitchen will love this week-long class exploring the world’s most beloved cuisines. Students will begin with kitchen basics and French techniques before cooking their way through the world. Each day will wrap with a delicious lunch prepared by the class. Young cooks will learn basics in kitchen safety, proper food handling, food preparation, cooking and baking techniques, presentation, and understanding recipes—valuable culinary skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Special Events

There is always something unique in the works, 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 culinary demonstrations.

Professional Certificate Programs

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 units toward the MA in Gastronomy.

ServSafe Certification

Food service professionals seeking to commit to promoting food safety can do so with this course of study, which covers all aspects of food safety: handling, storing, preparing, and serving. Sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, students who pass the ServSafe exam in this class will be certified by ServSafe in food safety.