Culinary Arts - Professional Cook Level 1

7-month Certificate Program

August 28, 2023 to March 22, 2024

Apply early as space is limited

The Culinary Arts Certificate Program

The Culinary Arts Certificate consists of the 28-week Professional Cook 1 (PC1), and the 14-week Professional Cook 2 (PC2).The Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island (CIVI) at VIU provides students with the options of the Professional Cook 1 (PC1) Certificate (offered through the Nanaimo, Cowichan and tiwšɛmawtxʷ campuses), the one-year Culinary Arts Certificate (PC1 and PC2 offered at the Nanaimo, Cowichan and tiwšɛmawtxʷ campuses), and the two-year Culinary Management Diploma (offered at the Nanaimo campus). The Certificate and Diploma programs provide students with culinary training and management skills, giving them the leading edge to advancement in the culinary profession. Upon entering the Certificate program, culinary students are registered as Professional Cook 1 apprentices, gaining technical training while accruing apprentice hours. As a part of both the Culinary Arts Certificate and the Culinary Diploma programs, students participate in a paid coop work placement, gaining industry work experience and additional apprentice hours. 

Upon entering the program, culinary students:

  • Are registered as Professional Cook apprentices. The Culinary Arts Certificate consists of 28-week Professional Cook 1 (PC1), and the 14-week Professional Cook 2 (PC2), and a paid Co-op work practicum.
  • Gain industry work experience and PC1 apprentice hours. This often becomes full time employment toward their career paths.

The Professional Cook 1 (PC1) Program

This 28-week program is designed to train students for a career in professional cooking, including the fundamentals of food preparation in a modern industrial kitchen setting. Graduates can apply to take the 14-week PC2 remainder of the Culinary Arts Certificate Program.

Here's what you will learn.

  • Preparation of meat, poultry, soup, salads, sauces, seafood, fruit and desserts
  • Set up and operation of a restaurant and café providing breakfast and lunch service to live customers
  • Catering special events

Students rotate through the Birch Tree Café and Bistro, our new training facility and restaurant located in downtown Powell River.

As part of the program, students will acquire the Foodsafe Level 1 certificate

Regular attendance and a minimum average of 70% in each of the practical and theory portions of the program are required to pass.

Classes are in session 4 days per week, Tuesday-Friday, 8 am - 3 pm. Students should be aware that the schedule is flexible as there are evening, weekend and early morning events.

Apprenticeship and the Culinary Program

All students are sponsored as Professional Cook apprentices under the auspices of SkilledTradesBC while enrolled at the Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island. This allows learners to log apprentice hours while training within the culinary program. After 28 weeks of study, and having successfully passed the Certificate program requirements, students will write the ITA Professional Cook 1 Apprentice Practical and Theory exams. Students can then apply to the Professional Cook 2 section of the Culinary Arts Certificate program. Upon successful completion of these exams and the second half of the Certificate program, students can write their ITA Cook 2 apprentice practical and theory exams, if they have completed the ITA's required 1000 hours of industry training. Please consult the Program Chair regarding questions about industry hours.

For more information, see VIU Culinary Programs and VIU Apprenticeships.

Culinary Arts Certificate

After completing the Professional Cook 1 (PC1) program students have the option to apply to the tiwšɛmawtxʷ Campus to complete an additional 14-weeks of training (Professional Cook 2) and receive a Culinary Arts Certificate. See Admission Requirements for information about how to apply.

Admission Requirements

  • Criminal Record Check (approx. $44.70 – subject to change)
  • Application form
    (No application deadline date; however, apply early as space is limited)
  • Grade 12 or equivalent, or mature student status
  • Minimum 17 years of age
  • Mature students without Grade 12 will be required to complete an assessment test
  • Interview may be required
  • See also Trades general admission requirements

Program Outline

Professional Cook 1 (28-weeks)


COOK 100T - (Orientation and Evaluation)


COOK 102T - (Breakfast and Meat Cutting - Theory & Practical)


COOK 104T - (Garde-Manger, Vegetables and Starches 1 - Theory & Practical)


COOK 108T - (Stocks, Soups, Protein Cookery 1 - Theory & Practical)


COOK 112T - (A la Carte 1 - Theory & Practical)


COOK 119T - (Pastries and Desserts 1 - Theory & Practical)


Co-op Component

COOK 121 - (Preparation for Co-operative Placement 1)


                                                                                                                 Total Credits


All program courses must be successfully completed before certificates will be issued.

Fees (subject to change)

Fee Type Cost
Tuition Fee
Co-operative Placement Fee
Student Fees                                                     


Application Fee
Grad Fee
Criminal Record Check Fee

All fees are subject to change without prior notice.

* Information on fees for Dual Credit Students.

Other Expenses (approx.)

Type Cost
Culinary Knife Kit

Dining Room Attire - black shoes, socks, pants and a white shirt are required.

Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance may be available to students demonstrating financial need. This program is government student loan eligible. Applications for the academic year are available each May at any post-secondary institution, or online at StudentAidBC.

More information is available from an advisor at Vancouver Island University.
Please call 604.485.2878 to make an appointment.

How to Apply

When the Registration Center confirms that you have been admitted, you will be advised when and how to register and pay for your program.

Career Opportunities

Culinary students are in demand for a wide variety of employment opportunities. All students in the Culinary Arts Certificate program (PC1 and PC2) participate in a Co-op paid work practicum. Employers regularly contact VIU's chef instructors when employment opportunities arise. See employer testimonials. We are proud of the achievements of our grads and alumni.

See the Departmental website for more information: VIU Culinary Programs.

Co-operative Education

Under the co-operative education format, the paid co-operative education experiences are integrated into the total curriculum. Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island students are employed and supervised in a Red Seal-trained kitchen. Hours worked in their co-op are counted towards their apprenticeship. Culinary students will benefit from the co-operative education experience by:

  • relating academic study more effectively to the field of practice
  • developing a clearer career focus
  • gaining valuable practical experience and apprentice hours
  • being able to finance a larger portion of their education

Co-operative placements are typically from July to  early September. Access to co-operative education placements is based on student's GPA and their willingness to work as a team member with faculty and co-operative education staff to find an appropriate placement. Students in co-operative placement are assessed tuition and Students' Union fees.