Why Choose The Online
Plant-Based Diploma Program

  • Our most affordable and convenient plant-based program
  • 100% online program with hands-on industry externship near where you live
  • Option to enroll in Associate Degree online program upon graduation with fully earned credit transfer

See Tuition and Financial Aid Info

Get a strong foundation for a career in the Culinary Arts with a plant-based focus. 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 60 weeks to complete.

The Plant-Based Culinary Arts Diploma program offers online courses which include a variety of learning opportunities for students through lecture and lab activities.

Different herbs and spices

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, elective 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 farm-to-table principles with a focus on nutritional benefits, sustainability, ethics, and biodiversity.


Apply business principles in the management of commercial foodservice operations.
Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and onions
Two red beets

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

These are the mentors for your journey. Courses are taught by knowledgeable and credentialed Chef Instructors with years of industry experience. Additionally, our state-of-the-art interactive technology allows for a collaborative and engaging environment with fellow classmates.
Lead Chef Instructor Stephanie Michalak White Lead Chef Instructor Stephanie Michalak White
Chef Roberta Clare Chef Roberta Clare
Chef Paige Haringa Chef Paige Haringa
Chef Jennifer Kempin Chef Jennifer Kempin
Vine of green grapes
Plant-based tofu dish with herbs and slices of lemon and lime

The Plant-Based Online Programs Toolkit

The Plant-Based Online 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.
The Plant-Based Online Programs Toolkit
Slice of pie topped with nuts and jam on the side

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

Assorted herbs sit next to each other
Write a Business Plan for a Plant-Based Restaurant, Packaged Food, or Other Idea
Do you have an idea for a plant-based food truck? Do you want to craft the perfect plant-based protein bar and sell it at a nationwide grocery chain? You’ll explore the fundamentals of capturing and vetting the idea, how to pitch investors, or bootstrap on your own by starting out of your own kitchen. Then share and improve your idea with a Chef Instructor who has entrepreneurial experience.
Plant-Based Menu Design: How to Build Flavorful and Healthy Dishes with the Latest Plant-Based Methods & Techniques
Explore different types of menus for both meals and beverages, including the visual design and item selection. Students will be tasked with designing a menu for 3 different allergies and preparing one of the dishes.
Plant-Based Menu Design: How to Build Flavorful and Healthy Dishes with the Latest Plant-Based Methods & Techniques
Explore different types of menus for both meals and beverages, including the visual design and item selection. Students will be tasked with designing a menu for 3 different allergies and preparing one of the dishes.
Plant-Based Substitutions: Can You Make a Cake Without Eggs? Or Macaroni & Cheese Without Dairy?
Everyday consumers want to eat healthier foods without giving up the flavors they already enjoy. Know how to choose the right substitutions and alter dishes, so that people can enjoy traditional favorites while living up to their values of health, animal welfare, and sustainability.
Garlic cut in half to show garlic cloves

Courses in This Program

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Menu Design

    This course explores different types of menus (including both food menus and beverage menus) and their applications. The course covers all aspects of menu planning and design, ranging from visual design to prices analysis to making use of available resources. The menu is both a financial tool and a communication tool, and students learn about its uses as both.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Purchasing and Cost Control

    Three out of five foodservice operations 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 to also turn a profit. This course introduces students to purchasing, receiving, inventory management and menu pricing. In this course, students learn how to minimize costs and maintain a full range of customer services. The course progresses from the fundamentals of culinary math into an overview of storeroom operations, inventory, portion control, as purchased and edible portions, ingredient conversions, and recipe costing.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Foodservice Management

    This course covers the different types of commercial foodservice operations, and how to manage each using the principles of good service. Students study the hierarchy of management in foodservice, and the skill needed to succeed as a manager: training employees, motivating, them, disciplining them, and creating a safe and positive work environment. The course also explores how to act r esponsibly and make decisions that benefit the company.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

We're able to connect with students that may have not thought about sustainability from an environmental perspective. Being a smart business owner means that you're also being smart about the foods that you're preparing and buying. Our students are able to make an impact on their future career, their current career, and how sustainability is a big piece of it.”



Potatoes  plated around a dipping sauce

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