Train with the experts at New Mexico's Premier Culinary Program! Our Culinary Arts Program teams students with American Culinary Federation Certified Chefs who have years of experience as working professionals. In our state-of-the-art laboratories, the program trains chefs, pastry chefs, cooks, and bakers for positions in the food service and hospitality field. The program leads to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in a dynamic and in-demand profession. Students working in the industry can upgrade their skills and abilities to improve their workplace opportunities.

Note: Because this career-education program is comprised primarily of vocational/technical courses, it is not intended to transfer to a four-year institution.

How to Get Started

Prospective students can arrange for an initial degree planning session with an Academic Advisor after completing the application for program admission. Students are admitted to the program in the fall semester as a cohort and must maintain their academic eligibility throughout their course of study.

Remember to consult the DACC Catalog for more complete information before choosing a program. Certain restrictions, qualifications, and/or fees may apply.


The DACC Culinary Arts program has a limited number of seats. Students must complete two preliminary courses to be considered for admission (CHEF 101 and CHEF 165) with a C or higher. For more information, see the Culinary Arts Course Sequence Associate of Applied Science Degree.

Mission Statement

The Hospitality Department at Dona Ana Community College in New Mexico is dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive and practical education in the fields of culinary and hospitality. We focus on equipping individuals with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to thrive in these dynamic industries and contribute positively to their communities. Through innovative teaching methods and industry partnerships, we empower our students to excel as professionals and leaders, both regionally and beyond.

Vision Statement

The Hospitality Department at Dona Ana Community College envisions becoming a cornerstone of excellence in education, recognized for producing skilled professionals who drive innovation, creativity, and sustainable growth in the hospitality sectors. Our graduates will be known for their exceptional expertise, ethical values, and contributions to the development of both local communities and the broader industry landscape.

Faculty & Staff:
Dr. Laura De La Cruz, Professor/Department Chair
Phone: 575-528-7335
Office: DAEM 100G
Devin Taillon, Lab Technician
Phone: 575-528-7412
Office: DASR 220Q 
Thomas Drake, Chef Instructor
Phone: 575-528-7273
Office: DASR 220P
Cecilia Castro, Chef Instructor
Phone: 575-528-7279
Office: DASR 220O
Phone: 575-527-7264
Office: DASR 220N
Mouthwatering, made from scratch, walnut pesto surrounded by fresh baked white bread, walnut halves, and blocks of cheese.

Program Goals

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the use of marketing concepts in planning and operational processes.
  • Demonstrate cost control measures as applied to kitchen operations.
  • Practice appropriate communication skills in operational situations
  • Relate management responsibilities for the achievement of financial goals including budgeting and purchasing of supplies and labor.
  • Discuss the importance of preventing food-borne illness in food service operations.
  • Apply classical and modern cooking (baking) techniques to a variety of cuisines (products).
  • Demonstrate appropriate sanitation and safety practices in kitchen settings.
  • Practice appropriate customer service techniques and practices.

Culinary Arts

Prepare to embark on an exciting culinary journey that will cultivate your passion for food, hone your culinary skills, and equip you with the knowledge needed for a successful career in the dynamic world of gastronomy.

Program Highlights:

Comprehensive Culinary Training: Our program offers a well-rounded curriculum that covers essential culinary techniques, kitchen management, food safety, nutrition, and international cuisines. You'll gain hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art kitchens, learning to create diverse and delectable dishes.

Experienced Faculty: Learn from seasoned culinary professionals who bring a wealth of industry experience to the classroom. They will guide you through every aspect of culinary arts, sharing insights, tips, and real-world anecdotes.

Practical Learning: Get your hands dirty with practical, immersive learning. From basic knife skills to advanced cooking methods, you'll engage in experiential learning that mirrors the challenges and expectations of a real culinary environment.

Menu Creation: Unleash your creativity as you design and prepare menus that showcase your culinary prowess. Learn the art of balancing flavors, textures, and presentations to delight discerning palates.

Industry Exposure: Connect with local restaurants, hotels, catering services, and other culinary establishments through our industry partnerships. Gain exposure to real working environments, networking opportunities, and potential career paths.

Internship Opportunities: Put your skills to the test during a hands-on internship. Apply classroom knowledge in a professional kitchen setting, building confidence and a strong work ethic under the guidance of seasoned chefs.

Teamwork and Collaboration: Experience the fast-paced, collaborative nature of professional kitchens. Develop teamwork, communication, and time-management skills essential for success in the culinary world.

Professional Development: Beyond culinary skills, learn about customer service, restaurant operations, and entrepreneurship. Graduates are well-prepared to take on roles such as chefs, sous chefs, caterers, kitchen managers, and more.

Flexibility: Our program offers both full-time and part-time study options to accommodate various schedules. This flexibility ensures that you can pursue your passion for culinary arts without compromising other commitments.

Embark on a culinary adventure that nurtures your creativity, refines your skills, and opens doors to a world of culinary possibilities. Join us at Doña Ana Community College to kickstart your journey toward becoming a skilled and confident culinary professional.

Indulge in your passion. Ignite your career.

Apply for the Culinary Arts Associates Degree today.


Baking and Pastry

Discover the art and science of creating delectable baked goods and exquisite pastries with our comprehensive Baking and Pastry Certificate program. Designed to provide a solid foundation in the culinary techniques essential for success in the baking industry, this program combines hands-on experience with expert instruction.

Program Highlights:

Hands-On Learning: Immerse yourself in a state-of-the-art baking facility, where you'll gain practical experience in crafting a wide range of baked goods, from artisan breads to delicate pastries.

Expert Faculty: Learn from seasoned professionals with extensive industry experience who are dedicated to nurturing your skills and knowledge.

Comprehensive Curriculum: Master the fundamentals of baking, including ingredient selection, mixing, shaping, and baking techniques. Dive into the world of pastry arts, learning the delicate balance of flavors, textures, and presentation.

Artistry and Creativity: Develop your artistic flair as you decorate and design cakes, tarts, and other pastry delights, turning them into edible works of art.

Industry Insights: Gain valuable insights into the business side of baking, including cost management, menu planning, and customer service, preparing you for success in a commercial kitchen or your own bakery.

Modern Techniques: Stay current with the latest trends and innovations in baking and pastry, exploring new ingredients, flavor combinations, and techniques.

Certification: Earn a recognized Baking and Pastry Certificate upon successful completion of the program, showcasing your expertise to potential employers.

Whether you aspire to become a skilled pastry chef, launch your own bakery, or simply want to enhance your baking prowess, our Baking and Pastry Certificate program is your gateway to a world of culinary delights. Join us at and turn your passion for baking into a rewarding career. Enroll today and let your journey to becoming a baking maestro begin!



Unlock the artistry of flavors and elevate your culinary skills with our Savory Certificate program. Designed for passionate food enthusiasts and aspiring culinary professionals, this comprehensive program delves into the world of savory cuisines, equipping you with essential techniques and expertise to master the art of cooking.

Program Highlights:

Hands-on Culinary Training: Immerse yourself in a dynamic learning environment with practical, hands-on experience led by experienced culinary instructors. Develop proficiency in fundamental cooking methods, knife skills, and the preparation of a wide array of savory dishes.

Ingredient Knowledge: Explore the nuances of ingredients, their origins, and their complementary flavors. Learn to select, handle, and utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes that captivate the palate.

Global Cuisine Exploration: Embark on a journey across continents as you discover the richness of international cuisines. From Mediterranean delights to Asian inspirations, gain a deep understanding of diverse culinary traditions and techniques.

Menu Planning and Presentation: Elevate your culinary creations by mastering the art of menu planning and presentation. Craft well-balanced, visually appealing dishes that demonstrate creativity and attention to detail.

Culinary Safety and Sanitation: Prioritize food safety and hygiene with comprehensive lessons on proper kitchen practices. Acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to maintain a clean, organized, and safe cooking environment.

Networking Opportunities: Connect with fellow culinary enthusiasts and professionals, building a valuable network that extends beyond the classroom. Collaborate on projects, share insights, and foster lasting relationships in the culinary industry.

Embark on a flavorful journey that combines passion with culinary finesse. Whether you aspire to become a sought-after chef or simply wish to indulge your culinary curiosity, our Savory Certificate offers a savory pathway to achieving your culinary ambitions.

Enroll today and savor the opportunity to create extraordinary dishes that leave a lasting impression.


So, have we caught your interest?

Don't wait too long! Next Semester begins January 16th