Why Choose The Plant-Based
Cuisine Diploma Program

  • Attend our campus in beautiful Boulder, Colorado
  • Complete the program in just 42 weeks
  • Option to enroll in Associate Degree online program upon graduation with fully earned credit transfer

See Tuition and Financial Aid Info

This program is made up of plant-based courses, industry-focused courses, and a 6-week externship to provide students with a well-rounded education. In total, the program takes 42 weeks to complete.

The Plant-Based Cuisine Diploma program offers campus-based courses which include a variety of learning opportunities for students through lecture and lab activities.

Potatoes and green grapes

Program Objectives


Demonstrate professionalism in all aspects of the foodservice industry including, but not limited to, food safety and sanitation, care and use of tools, effective communication, and respect for the uniform.


Use culinary and pastry tools, techniques, and ingredients to craft plant-based food that is inclusive, creative, and relevant in today’s food culture.


Support the importance of using local ingredients with a focus on nutritional benefits, sustainability, ethics, and biodiversity.


Apply business principles in the management of commercial foodservice operations.
Three different types of bruschetta sit next to each other
Lettuce, tomato, and garlic

Plant-Based Diploma Program Chef Instructors: Your Guides and Mentors

Work in our campus kitchen in collaboration with our credentialed Chef Instructors and other students as you learn new methods and techniques.
Lead Chef Instructor Stephanie Michalak White Lead Chef Instructor Stephanie Michalak White
Chef Jesper Jonsson Chef Jesper Jonsson
Chef Richard Jensen Chef Richard Jensen
Chef Megan Piel Chef Megan Piel
Chef Steven Nalls Chef Steven Nalls
Chef Julia Wolfe Chef Julia Wolfe
Chef Christopher Moore Chef Christopher Moore
Cinnamon sticks and star anise
Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and onions

The Plant-Based Programs Toolkit

The Plant-Based Programs Toolkit includes knives, sharpening steel, uniform, and other basics. These are the fundamental tools you’ll use throughout your career as you begin to create plant-based dishes. Under the guidance of expert chef instruction, you’ll move closer to mastery of your craft.
Kitchen toolkit laid out on a white table
Toasted bread topped with eggplant

Here Are Just a Few of the Activities and Lessons You’ll Get to Experience

A pomegranate and a slice of pomegranate shows the seeds inside
Farm Families: The Classifications of Fruits and Vegetables, and What They Have in Common
Plants are full of nutrients and compounds that support human health. What do you need to know about berries vs. roots vs. tubers vs. fungi to best preserve their natural health benefits and flavor when cooking with them?
Plant-Based Seasonality: Choosing the Best Methods to Celebrate the Ingredients of Each Season
How do you preserve ingredients to capture their peak flavor? How do you integrate these ingredients into an entire menu? Students will create their own dishes each week, alongside other dishes that highlight the produce of the season.
Plant-Based Seasonality: Choosing the Best Methods to Celebrate the Ingredients of Each Season
How do you preserve ingredients to capture their peak flavor? How do you integrate these ingredients into an entire menu? Students will create their own dishes each week, alongside other dishes that highlight the produce of the season.
Boost Your Plant-Based Creativity to Create Dishes Beyond Simply Following Recipes
Follow the proven recipes and methods that are the fundamental building blocks for students who hope to someday become a chef. But a chef does so much more, building on time-honored techniques to create new dishes and experiences by drawing on cultural influences and ethnic or personal background.
Garlic, pepper, tomato, and lime
Tomatoes, strawberries, and rosemary

Courses in This Program

  • Restaurant Operations

    Three out of five restaurants fail within five years of opening, often due to money mismanagement; this course gives students the skills to not only keep their restaurant in business but also turn a profit.

    In this course, students study the hierarchy of management in food service, and the skills needed to succeed as a manager: training employees, motivating them, disciplining them, and creating a safe and positive work environment.

    This course explores different types of menus (including both food menus and beverage menus) and their applications. Aspects of menu planning and design, ranging from visual design to price analysis to making use of available resources are covered.

    The menu is both a financial tool and a communication tool, and students learn about its uses as both. Students are introduced to accounting and managing budgets, especially as it relates to the hospitality industry. Students learn how to minimize costs and maintain a full range of customer services.

  • Plant-Based Culinary Foundations I

    In this course, students will be introduced to food safety and sanitation practices in order to prevent foodborne illnesses. They will also be presented with information about food allergens, levels of severity, and measures a chef can take to keep guests safe and included.

    Additionally, this course will introduce students to the professional plant-based kitchen by familiarizing them with not only traditional culinary tools, utensils, and equipment but also those unique to the plant-based kitchen. They will practice knife safety, cutting techniques, standard measurements and conversions, and basic cooking techniques. But perhaps most importantly, students will classify foods into their food groups to understand basic recipe structures and begin modifying traditional recipes with plant-based substitutions. These concepts will be echoed throughout the entirety of the program.

  • Foundations of Plant-Based Pastry I

    In this course, students will be presented with ways to create plant-based frozen desserts as well as techniques to prevent them from freezing solid or becoming gritty in the freezer. They will also prepare fruit based and raw desserts, cookies, bars, and confections using a variety of ingredients such as cream-based sauces, puddings, fillings, nuts, and seeds to name a few. Additionally, students will be introduced to techniques for replacing traditional baking ingredients with plant-based alternatives and how to build flavor in their plant-based pastry dishes.

  • Plant-Based Culinary Foundations II

    In this course, students will continue their plant-based education with the creation of stocks and soups, which will be leveraged in future plant-based dishes. Students will also prepare a variety of legumes and grains that introduce new techniques and flavors to their culinary palate.

  • Foundations of Plant-Based Pastry II

    Students will expand upon content learned in Foundations of Plant-Based Pastry I. They will continue their awareness of flavor balance as they use ingredients like fruit purees, for example, to enhance the taste and texture of their plant-based desserts. Students will prepare a variety of plant-based pastries such as cakes, breads, muffins, breakfast foods, truffles, ganache and more! They will also work with yeast allowing them an opportunity to practice folding, rolling, twisting, and cutting dough as they create classic forms that are enriched by seasonings and toppings. Finally, students will modify recipes to accommodate gluten-free diets.

  • Plant-Based Culinary Foundations III

    In the final foundations course, students will apply skills and knowledge gained in prior foundations to the preparation of stews. Students will also prepare a variety of plant-based proteins using the appropriate techniques for each. Finally, students will combine all their fundamental culinary skills and apply them to the theory of meal composition. They will design and prepare balanced dishes focusing on meal composition, flavor profiles, and depth of flavor.

  • Entrepreneurship

    This course is a culmination course in entrepreneurship. This course covers such topics as business planning, pricing, credit management, government regulation, and legal concerns. Business ethics and the crucial role and importance of management and leadership are also covered.

  • Plant-Based Approaches to Wellness

    In Plant-Based Approaches to Wellness, students will examine philosophies of wellness unique to plant-based eating such as, Whole Food Plant-Based, Raw, Ayurveda, and Macro. Students will also look at trending diets and how to prepare dishes within a plant-based culinary framework. Moreover, they will explore various ingredient substitutions to accommodate allergy restrictions.

  • Cultural Influences I

    Students will begin their culinary journey around the world in this Cultural Influences I course. They will be exposed to the traditions, customs, and ingredients unique to specific countries such as Japan, Italy, Greece, India, France, and Vietnam. Students will apply the skills that they have cultivated throughout this program to prepare culturally authentic plant-based dishes.

  • Seasonal Plant-Based Cuisine

    This course explores seasonal plant-based cooking using ingredients available during spring, early summer, mid-summer, late summer, fall, and winter. Students will explore ways to find and select seasonally fresh vegetables at supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and the like and how to optimally cook them for the best dining results. Students will also be introduced to the benefits of Farm to Table® cooking and the importance of sustainability practices as they relate to culinary outcomes.

  • Cultural Influences II

    Students will continue their cultural culinary journey in Cultural Influences II. They will be exposed to the traditions, customs, and ingredients unique to specific countries such as Lebanon, Thailand, Spain, Mexico, Morocco, and the United States. Students will apply the skills that they have cultivated throughout this program to prepare culturally authentic plant-based dishes.

  • Externship I

    This course provides opportunities for real life experiences in an operational restaurant or related business and builds on the skills and techniques covered in previous courses. In the course, students apply the skills they have learned in practical ways to real-world situations. Students gain hands-on experience in the kitchen that mirrors their future work in the industry while developing necessary career skills. Immersion in a work environment also allows students to develop industry contacts and build working relationships.

After a heart-to-heart moment with my wife, and asking myself what I really want to do with my life - I realized that I just love cooking. So, that's kind of when it clicked right there. And it turned out that we had Escoffier here in Boulder, which was a perfect fit for me because I already had a degree, and I didn't want to go back into a two- or four-year program because that wasn't for me. The platform Escoffier offered with a condensed schedule was just absolutely perfect for me.*

Chris McAdams headshot


Slice of pie topped with nuts and jam on the side

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