We are excited that you are considering Napa Valley Cooking School. Many qualified applications are received annually and we take time to carefully review each individual applicant. We accept applications year-round and consider applicants up until two weeks before the start of each semester. Preference is given to applicants who apply by the end of April for the August start date for the fall semester and by the end of October for the January start date for the spring semester. Applicants needing basic culinary arts instruction will be referred to basic culinary classes available through Napa Valley College’s Hospitality, Culinary, and Tourism Management program and asked to re-apply after completing basic culinary classes through that or a similar program or through work experience.

Program Start Dates

Our six month Advanced Professional Culinary program now starts TWICE a year in the Belle Rhodes Teaching Kitchen in St. Helena: mid-August (fall) OR mid-January (spring), with off-site 300 hour externships taking place throughout the world immediately following the completion of your studies in the teaching kitchen. Please indicate on your application which start date you prefer.


We require an assessment of your existing culinary skills before acceptance to the Advanced Professional Culinary program, so be sure to address (through video or in-person demonstration) the required Assessment of Culinary Skills for Incoming Advanced Professional Culinary students as outlined in the application itself. Please see the Assessment Guidelines for specific directions on what is required to accurately assess your basic culinary skills either through an in-person demonstration (call 707-967-2901 to set up an appointment for an in-person demonstration) or self-produced video no longer than 40 minutes in length, mailed to us on a flash drive that will not be returned. We seek to support your pursuit of the culinary arts and ask that you contact us to schedule a visit to the Napa Valley Cooking School before applying, so that you can know that our program is the right one for your personal and professional goals.

Each semester we enroll 10-15 students. Our goal is to provide a framework where students can grow by learning professional culinary and pastry skills required for them to enter a career at a fine-dining establishment.

Admissions Process

Follow these simple steps to apply to the Napa Valley Cooking School Advanced Professional Culinary Program:

  1. Call (707)967-2901 to arrange for a tour of our campus and a personal interview.
  2. Complete an application form (available online or download a PDF application), including an assessment of existing skills (short video or in-person demonstration) and mail a non-refundable application fee of $25.
  3. Submit a 200-word essay on why you have chosen a culinary career, stating your reasons for applying, your knowledge of the culinary field, and your future goals.
  4. Submit a letter of reference.
  5. Applicants will be considered up until two weeks before the start of each semester. Applicants not accepted will be directed to basic culinary training available through Napa Valley College’s Hospitality, Culinary, & Tourism Management program.
  6. Complete the personal interview. Out of state/country applicants may arrange for a telephone or Skype interview.


A personal interview is required for us to evaluate your ability to successfully complete the program. Please contact UVC Director Lissa Gibbs at lissa.gibbs@napavalley.edu for more details and to arrange a tour. We look forward to meeting you!

If you are traveœling from out of town and cannot attend a personal tour, we are happy to schedule a phone or Skype interview with the chefs.