culinary student arranges food on a white plate

Culinary Arts Management


Program Info


Mendocino College’s 25.5 Unit Culinary Arts Certificate Program is training passionate cooks, kitchen managers, and chefs in the Mendocino-Lake Community College District.  Students work in a fully functional kitchen where they learn all the skills of the trade. Textbook study is combined with the expertise of our talented chef instructors, who are all industry veterans.

Hands-on training and small class size produces concentrated instruction and a perfectly formulated, structured working environment.  Students complete the program with skills and a certificate that opens doors to a variety of culinary professions and opportunities.
While the program focuses on the foodservice professional, classes are open to all. Improving your cooking, baking, pastry and chocolate skills is enriching for everyone. Come join us, (PS, you get to eat what you cook).

Culinary Arts Program Deep Dive

Enjoy this new video created in collaboration with the Mendocino College Career Hub Spotlight series!

Degrees and Certificates

Culinary Arts Management Certificate of Achievement

Nicholas Petti - Program Director


chef petti prepares dough      student prepares gravy


Success Stories

Jennifer Malinowski, owner of The Wholly Bowl     Jennifer Malinowski is the owner of The Wholly Bowl in Lakeport, CA and a Mendocino College honor student. However, the path for this single mom wasn't easy. As a re-entry student she faced a number of challenges in getting her culinary certificate. She left the room in tears in her first math class, but through perseverance and the guidance of Mendocino College faculty, she not only aced her culinary math class, but has gone on to excel in advanced math classes. Jennifer also received scholarships, which not only made things easier financially, but boosted her confidence as well.

Sarah Smith, owner of Eventibles by Sarah Jane     Sarah Smith, owner of Eventibles by Sarah Jane, originally came to Mendocino College pursuing a career in Early Education when having children of her own sidelined that plan. Being a stay home mom ignited a passion for cooking and realizing that spending time with her family was her priority, she shifted her focus to the Culinary Arts Management program. As Sarah puts it, "The culinary arts program here has taken me to levels I never knew possible.  It not only refined my cooking skills, but also defined me as a person and a professional. I started this program just hoping to learn and gain some independence, and ended it with a confidence that has taken me to starting my own business. I am able to be a wife, mother, and professional in a career that I love.  All thanks to Chef Nicholas Petti and the Mendocino Culinary Arts Program."



Chef Christine DePasquale   Chef Christine DePasquale is a high honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Her extensive experience includes: The Rainier Club, Campagna and Stimson Green Mansion, in Seattle, The Ritz-Carlton, Campiello and Tulia, in Florida, Oenotri and Swanson Family Vineyards in Napa, and Flour & Water and Central Kitchen, in San Francisco. Locally, Chef DePasquale has worked with The Blue Wing Saloon and Tallman Hotel, O'Meara Brother's Brewing Company and as a private culinary consultant in Lake County. She joined the Mendocino College faculty in Fall of 2016 and currently resides in Fort Bragg. To contact Chef DesPasquale:


Chef Shelley Fields holding a tray of chocolates     Chef Shelley Fields trained at Ecole Chocolat in Vancouver BC in 2007 and then interned at Sweet Paradise Chocolatier in Hawaii in 2010. Shortly after her exciting trip to Hawaii, Shelley opened Wicked Bonbon and Cocoa Bungalow, producing chocolates for sale online and through a local shop in Mendocino. She began teaching at Mendocino College in the Fall of 2016. Shelley is married with three amazing kids and three rowdy dogs. To contact Chef Fields:


Chef Nicholas Petti    Program Head Nicholas Petti has been cooking professionally since graduating culinary school in 1991, mostly on the Mendocino Coast, but also in New York City, North Carolina, and Colorado. In 1999 he opened Mendo Bistro, in Fort Bragg and joined the Mendocino College Faculty in 2010. He loves teaching and seeing his students succeed. He lives in Fort Bragg with his wife and son. To contact Chef Petti email:

Julia Siderakis, Dining Room Service Instructor     Since 1983, Julia Siderakis, Dining Room Service Instructor, has held nearly every position in the hospitality industry. Since 1991 she has owned and operated Ukiah Garden Cafe with her husband. She loves sharing her wealth of knowledge about service and customer expectations with her students. To contact her email:


Artichokes with purple potato salad        



I don't have any cooking experience. Can I still enroll?
Yes. Our program is designed to accommodate both the novice and experienced cook.

How long does it take to complete the certificate?
The certificate is 25.5 units. A motivated student can complete those units in one academic year. In our experience however, many community college students take longer.

Will I be a chef when I complete the program?
Like any other occupation, advancement in the culinary field is a combination of education and experience. We will help you with the education, the experience is up to you. The program prepares you for a number of entry level jobs and many graduates advance quickly.

Is this a hands-on program?
Yes. Our lab classes involve cooking, baking, chocolate making, and service. We eat what we cook and often serve meals to staff, faculty, and fellow students.

Are classes offered at the North County, Lake, or Coast Centers?
Yes. Some of our classes are offered at the centers, but at present all hands-on lab classes are at the Ukiah campus only.

I don't want to be a chef, or even cook professionally. Can I still enroll?
Definitely. While our focus is on training professionals, we welcome anyone who wants to improve their cooking and baking.

Do I need to buy any special tools or equipment to enroll?
No. We have all the tools you need, although we do encourage students to bring their own knives if they have them. Your own tools will always be better than the house tools in any establishment.

Sounds great. How do I sign up?
You can start here. Or stop by the Admissions Office at the Ukiah campus.

I have a question that isn't answered here. Who do I contact?
Chef Nicholas Petti:


culinary student making sauce culinary student sautéing onions

culinary student making gravy

culinary student working with parsley

culinary student scraping sauce culinary student chopping meat

culinary instructor working with dough culinary dish