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Admissions are made on a rolling basis, so you are encouraged to apply as early as possible for your desired session.

Due to our small class sizes and limited sessions offered each year, placements at San Francisco Cooking School can be highly competitive.

Enrollment for each session opens one year before the session start date and stays open until the class is full or the class begins.

Professional Culinary Arts

August 2022 Full-Time Session

Begins August 29, 2022
Ends February 24, 2023
Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm

January 2023 Full-Time Session

Begins January 3, 2023
Ends June 23, 2023
Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm

January 2023 Part-Time Session

Begins January 4, 2023
Ends December 10, 2023
Wed & Thurs, 6-10pm
Saturdays, 9am-3pm

Professional Pastry & Baking Arts

January 2023 Full-Time Session

Begins January 3, 2023
Ends June 23, 2023
Monday-Friday, 8am-2pm

SFCS draws a wide mix of students from all over the world. While our program has strong appeal amongst career-switchers who have graduated from top colleges, some of our most talented graduates have come directly from high school, or from working the line in restaurants.

However, despite the wide diversity of backgrounds SFCS students hail from, all students admitted to SFCS share a strong work ethic and an insatiable curiosity to learn.

Our rigorous hands-on curriculum demands a high level of commitment in order to get through. If you can’t keep up, you will be left behind.

The actual materials and prerequisites we require for admissions to SFCS may be more stringent than other schools and are fairly limited. However, our admissions process is keenly focused on understanding who you are and why you wish to attend school. Below is a list of requirements and some of the student attributes we look for to help you determine whether or not SFCS is a match for you.


SFCS teaches college-level coursework and, as such, requires that admitted students have a high school or college diploma, or equivalent, prior to the start date of his/her program term. Official transcripts are not required as part of the application but will be required for enrollment.

All applicants must demonstrate their proficiency in the English language at a level adequate for success at SFCS. There is a large amount of verbal communication in class and a strong comprehension level is required to take in all of this information.

Non-U.S. residents are responsible for obtaining a visa before attending school.  We can help with the issuance of student visas upon acceptance into our full-time programs. More about this in the “International” section of this page, and any questions related to this matter should be directed to admissions staff.

Application Requirements:

  • Completed application form, signed.
  • Application fee of $50
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation (submitted to SFCS directly)
  • Personal Essay (400-500 words)
  • Personal interview


Curiosity. We also like the word “passion”, but “curiosity” is really the core trait we look for in our applicants. If your food interest is very narrow and you’re curiosity about food education is very limited then SFCS is not for you. Our program is designed to ingrain a breadth and depth of fundamental technique across an entire discipline (culinary or pastry), and instill culinary intuition. We take it upon ourselves to introduce you to a wide variety of ingredients, cuisines, cooking methods, and career opportunities and the most curious students take advantage of every single minute, craving lots of feedback and bettering themselves every day.

Stamina. SFCS is 100% hands-on. The kitchen is your classroom every single day. With the exception of sitting down for lunch or dinner, you should expect to be standing and cooking all day, everyday. Work in the kitchen is very physical and requires that you have the stamina to keep up. The huge upside of this unique feature of SFCS is that you’ll get tons of hands-on learning to develop into a stronger cook. If the idea of being on your feet cooking everyday doesn’t appeal to you then SFCS may not be what you’re looking for.

Exploration. The student culture at SFCS isn’t about doing the bare minimum to graduate, but about making the most out of every possible learning moment. There’s no better place to be than San Francisco for a food educational experience and we make the most of the “teaching campus” the City has to offer. As a student you will have lots of opportunities to volunteer and participate in programs outside the classroom, including our famed Curiosity Crawl. Think of yourself as part of San Francisco’s food community from your first day of school.

There are a variety of scholarships and grants that can be used towards your tuition.  A few of note are below:

The James Beard Foundation
The scholarship program from the James Beard Foundation opens once a year, in the spring. Visit their website to learn more about scholarship timing, offerings, and qualifications. There are a variety of awards, ranging from $1,000 to full tuition coverage, that can be applied towards tuition at SFCS. We recommend signing up for their mailing list so you will be kept up to date regarding all the details and deadlines.

While other scholarships may be used at SFCS, we recommend you check the details of any scholarship you apply for to be sure granted funds can be used towards tuition at San Francisco Cooking School.

At this time our school does not participate in FAFSA, GI Bill or any other form of government financial aid. This may change over time, so if you would like to be notified of any policy changes please complete the form below.

If you’d like to further discuss any issues related to payment or tuition, please reach out to us.

San Francisco Cooking School welcomes students from all around the world and is able to help qualified students obtain an M-1 visa

If you are an international student, you are required to have an M-1 visa to attend our school. You must be accepted into one of our full-time programs prior to applying for your visa so we suggest you start here. Because visa approval can take several months we suggest applying to SFCS at least 3-4 months prior to your desired start date (you are required to have your complete visa approval at least 30 days prior to the start of your program).

Our students hail from all over, however, as an international applicant, you must understand that our curriculum is an intimate, fast-paced learning experience that requires strong proficiency in the English language.

Feel free to reach out to us for any additional information.

Now Accepting Applications

Fill out the form to request admissions information about our professional certificate programs.
If you're looking to take short-term classes for fun visit
our Cooking Classes page.