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About the Food and Hospitality Institute

How to Get Started

To get started in the Food and Hospitality Institute, complete the admissions process at El Centro College.

When you meet with an academic advisor, mention your interest in the Food and Hospitality Institute so he or she can help you determine which courses you should take.

If you are planning to earn an associate degree or certificate, please note that you must complete 25 percent of your degree requirements at the college awarding the degree (El Centro).


Dallas County residents pay $177 per three-hour class — that is $59 per credit hour, or just $708 for a full-semester load of 12 credit hours.

Compare that to what you’d pay elsewhere! See our tuition rates for tuition according to your place of residency.

Scholarships are also available from several industry organizations.

Rising Star Program

If you are a Dallas County high school graduating senior, you may qualify for Rising Star funds to help pay for this program. The Rising Star program offers academic support services and up to $4,000 for tuition and books, if you have established financial need.​​

Courses Offered (Curriculum)

Our catalog provides detailed information about the courses we offer and the courses required for the following associate degrees and certificates:

Accreditation and Affiliations

The colleges of Dallas County Community College District — Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland — are individually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The official statement of accreditation for each college is published on the college’s accreditation Web page.

El Centro’s Food and Hospitality Institute is also accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the American Culinary Federation.

Our food service curriculum was developed and is continuously monitored by an industry advisory committee composed of members of:


Get a taste of the Food and Hospitality Institute — including program photos, information about our Thursday luncheons and more — on the Appetizers page.

Related Programs

Not sure exactly what you’re looking for? Check out our other programs in Hospitality and Tourism, such as Travel, Exposition and Meeting Management.

Other Degree and Certificate Options

The colleges of DCCCD offer nearly 350 career and technical degrees and certificates, plus more than 50 academic degrees. For more information, see a chart of degree plans by college or visit the credit programs home page.​​

Developing Skills for Success

The Kitchen Classroom Lab is a replica of a commercial kitchen with a full complement of all the equipment you’ll find on the job, set up for both small- and large-volume production. There is a separate bakery and pastry kitchen. Both are regularly inspected by the city of Dallas’ Health Department as a commercial kitchen operation.

The computer lab offers computer-assisted programs in such areas as safety and sanitation, supervision, purchasing, costing and other industry-related programs. Students also have Internet access and a college email account. Lab assistants qualified in both computer technology and the food service industry are available at all times to help with questions.

The lab is also the place to get the latest information on daily changes around the college, apply for industry scholarships such as those offered by the Texas Restaurant Association and Roundtable for Women in Food Service, and enter contests and competitions. The computer lab is located in room C-150 and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and on Fridays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The college each spring sponsors “Bits and Bites," a community event and fundraiser for friends and supporters of the Food and Hospitality Institute. Local restaurants and beverage vendors showcase their sweet and savory offerings at this tasting experience that also offers great networking opportunities for our culinary students.

See more about the “Bits and Bites” Meet the Chef tasting experience

Cooperative education and/or a practicum, depending on the specific program, plays a key role in all Food and Hospitality programs.

Faculty Profiles

Our faculty members not only have relevant degrees but also have real-world experience in the culinary profession, which makes them able to relate to the challenges you face at school and at work. Our instructors work closely with you one-on-one, helping you to apply new techniques to your job and to map a career plan to land your ultimate dream job in the food service industry. See profiles of some of our faculty.

Transfer Information

Food and Hospitality Institute courses are designed for direct entry into the workforce. However, if you are interested in earning a degree at a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Services website for guidance on the transfer process.

An articulation (transfer) agreement is also in place with Texas Woman’s University. Ask your academic advisor or counselor about specific conditions if you think you might like to transfer your associate degree from El Centro to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Links to Additional Information

View links to culinary-related websites.

Information Seminars and Tours of the Food and Hospitality Institute

All prospective students interested in the Food and Hospitality Institute are strongly encouraged to attend an information session. For times and registration information, call El Centro’s:

  • Food and Hospitality Institute Kitchen, 214-860-2217
  • Business and Public Services Division office, 214-860-2202
  • Counseling Office, 214-860-2084

Supplies and Uniforms

Find out what supplies and uniforms are required.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the Food and Hospitality Institute that aren’t answered on our website, please feel free to contact us.