• Thornton Township High School District 205’s Culinary Arts program consists of a sequence of four classes:

    • Introduction to Culinary Arts
    • Intermediate Culinary Arts
    • Advanced Culinary Arts
    • Professional Culinary Arts
    • Fitness & Nutrition


    The culinary arts program introduces students to careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry and teaches them the basic skills and knowledge they will need to achieve success.  On-the-job training and experience, coupled with a dynamic and comprehensive curriculum, fuel the culinary program.  It encourages students to experience all aspects of operating and managing a foodservice establishment, and  also helps students develop effective business and management skills.
    The culinary program was developed to increase the quality and employability of District 205’s high school graduates by providing them with training related to important job skills as well as opportunities for careers and higher education. At the completion of the culinary program, students will have had the opportunity to  participate in field trips, job shadowing, chef demonstrations, special events, catering, chef mentoring, culinary competitions, internships and cooperative education learning experiences.  Students will also have had the opportunity to earn several industry certifications, dual credit, and scholarships. 

    Traveling Abroad

    Eight District 205 culinary students and two culinary teachers studied abroad in Italy, June 2013.  The students spent nine days traveling to different regions of Italy and learning about the Italian history, culture, and diverse cuisine. 


    The trip highlight was an Italian Culinary Class at the famous Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu of Florence. Students learned traditional Tuscan and Florentine cuisine, proper pasta cooking techniques, and the art of preparing cannoli. Under the direction of Gabriella Mari and Cristina Blasi, the school’s founders and co-owners, the students prepared a 4 course formal Italian meal and earned an Italian Cuisine Culinary Certificate.


    Culinary Arts students study the principles of nutrition and food preparation.  The industry-focused curriculum is aligned with the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s curriculum.  The program encourages students to experience all aspects of operating and managing a food service establishment, and students build good business and management skills.  Students will have an opportunity to obtain the following certifications:

    ·       ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification

    ·       Illinois Department of Public Health Foodservice Manager Certification

    ·       Chicago Department of Public Health Foodservice Manager Certification

    ·       American Heart Association CPR/First Aid Certification

    ·       ProStart National Certificate of Achievement

    ·       National Career Readiness Certification

    Student Success
    Shanequa Hayes
    Age: 21
    High School: Thornton Township High School
    College:  Robert Morris University Chicago
    Shanequa Hayes grew up in Harvey, Illinois, a southern suburb of Chicago.  Her love of food stems from her culinary classes at Thornton Township High School, particularly, catering with her Intermediate Culinary Arts class. She graduated from Robert Morris University with her Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts.  Upon graduation she joined the BOKA restaurant group, downtown Chicago, and is the Garmache Chef for GT Fish & Oyster.

    Shanequa’s journey is just beginning.  She recently enrolled in Robert Morris University to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Restaurant Management.  “Since my catering experience at Thornton High School, I have known that I wanted to own a catering company”, said Shanequa.  With her goals in sight, Shanequa continues her education in the classroom and in the field.  She is very thankful for her friends and family that have supported her, but she is also thankful for her culinary classes for exposing her to the exciting career of catering.

Culinary Careers

Possible Culinary Arts Careers for Students