The Six-Month Full-Time Culinary Course

No matter what your goals, the Six-Month Full-Time Culinary Course will give you the foundation on which to build your culinary career. We will teach you the skills and knowledge you need to become a competent and credible cook through a curriculum of hands-on and interactive classes. This course represents excellent value for the time and money commitment required.

Under the guidance of the Chef/Instructor you will learn the fundamentals of classic French cooking and apply them to modern tastes and trends. The Course covers both savory dishes and desserts and includes training in valuable trades such as butchery, cheese making and preserving. You will cook using best quality, minimally processed ingredients that have been produced or raised in the most sustainable manner possible. At Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco we work closely with top local suppliers to stock our kitchens with the best seasonal and sustainable produce.

Although the kitchens and equipment of Tante Marie’s are suitable for the accomplished home cook, you will learn how to think and work as a member of a team in a working environment. With a class size of no more than 15 students, you will have access to the tools and individual attention you need to successfully embark on your culinary career. You will graduate with the knowledge and skills on which to build a successful career and a strong confidence in your own abilities.

The 22-week Culinary Course runs twice a year, starting in either early Spring or Autumn. Classes meet five days a week, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.



The Six-Month Full-Time Culinary Course is a comprehensive study of French cooking techniques as applied to the modern demands of the food world and international culinary trends. Over the course of 22-weeks you will be exposed to a huge variety of foods, techniques and flavors covering everything from meat, poultry and seafood to vegetables, grains and legumes.

You will begin to build your foundation of knowledge with basics such as stocks, sauces, breads, and soufflés. Throughout the Course you will work on core techniques including advanced knife skills, proper seasoning and various cooking methods, developing your understanding and speed as you progress. Your repertoire will expand to include advanced topics such as curing meats, complex sauces and laminated doughs. As the Course develops and your confidence increases you will build on what you learn each week, steadily taking on more responsibility and creativity in the kitchen.

A variety of yeast breads, impressive desserts and traditional pastries are featured throughout the curriculum including many of the techniques covered in the Part-Time Pastry Course. These elements are essential for creating a complete, multi-course menu.

Although the basis of the course follows the techniques of French cooking, it also includes international topics such as making traditional Italian salumi and Moroccan flatbreads. At Tante Marie’s we believe in the importance of learning the fundamentals – the building blocks of all great chefs – before moving on to modern techniques and trends.

Interactive lessons on menu planning and recipe development play a vital role in the Course, arming you with both the theory and techniques necessary to cook well.

Field Trips to culinary locations such as wineries and farms round out the knowledge gained in the kitchen. In addition to this, and the externships offered on completion of the course, students who show a suitable level of ability will be offered opportunities to assist in cooking classes and events.


Course Structure

Each week of the course is structured to allow for the maximum amount of hands-on cooking and each new day is used to build on and solidify knowledge already gained.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are workshops during which you will cook independently a particular method or technique, such as pizza and calzone, fileting fish or cutting up chicken, or baking croissants.

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings you will work on your timing, presentation and previously learned techniques by collaborating with your fellow students on preparing a three-course menu.

On most Wednesday afternoons guest instructors demonstrate world cuisines including Chinese, Italian and Mexican. There are also short lectures on subjects such as Career Development and Culinary Entrepreneurship.

At lunch on Fridays you will taste wines from both old and new world regions, developing your palette and the skills necessary to examine and evaluate wine. This will provide you with the practical knowledge required to pair wine successfully with your dishes.

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Throughout the course guest chefs such as Jason Fox of Commonwealth, Melissa Chou of Aziza and Doug Basegio of New Fillmore Bakery, will demonstrate specialty subjects to compliment your education with topics like Professional Chocolate Techniques and Composing Finished Dishes.

This consistent weekly structure has proven to be extremely successful and you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your abilities will advance. Your progress will be measured and monitored using written and practical exams, with one-on-one feedback sessions between you and the Chef/Instructor.



The Chef/Instructor for the Six-Month Full-Time Culinary Course is Frances Wilson. Frances graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and taught home economics for 10 years. After attending Dublin College of Catering to train as a chef, she moved to Berkeley and became the chef of the award-winning restaurant Lalime’s. Frances was then hired as the Culinary Director of Château Routas in Provence, France where she taught cooking classes and catered for guests of the château. During her long and successful career she has also worked as a personal chef, taught cooking classes at many venues in the Bay Area, worked as an event organizer and run a small food product business. She loves to share her extensive experience, knowledge and passion for food and cooking with her students at Tante Marie’s.


Externships And Graduates

Upon successful completion of the Culinary Course requirements you will be awarded a certificate. If you are sincerely interested in going into the business you will have the opportunity to work full-time as an extern for 4-weeks at a Bay Area restaurant. This is an opportunity to continue your education and apply your newly acquired skills to a restaurant-scale production environment. The goal of the externship is to receive a job offer and many of Tante Marie’s graduates have begun very successful careers at their host restaurants. Previous graduates of the Culinary Course have gone on to complete their externships at top restaurants such as Greens, Nopa, Quince and Kokkari.

Career opportunities in the world of food are available now more than ever. Graduates of the Culinary Course have gone on to successful careers as chef/owners of their own restaurants; as cookbook authors and television personalities; as owners of their own food product businesses; as personal and private chefs; and as cooking teachers and cooking school owners.


Find out more about Six Month Programs Enrollment.

For a pastry only course take a look at our Part-Time Pastry Course.