Beginning chef courses can be found at your local community college or vocational school, such as those offered by the West Valley Occupational Center (WVOC) in Woodland Hills, California. Centers like this offer short-term training in technical and vocational subjects. These courses often earn community college credit as well.
Be aware that attendance policies at community occupational centers can be quite strict, since there are always waiting lists. At WVOC, food-handling courses require a Tuberculosis (TB) Test to be passed first, partly due to the large number of immigrants in the region. Other areas of the U.S. and Canada, and elsewhere, may have similar requirements. At least, it is hoped that only healthy people are allowed to work in the food and catering industry, but that may be difficult to enforce.
More advanced chef courses are offered by cooking schools, well-known in their region, or even across borders. One example is the affiliation between the Canadian Personal Chef Alliance (CPCA) and Liaison College Downtown Toronto (Ontario), which offers several diploma programs and financial assistance. Graduating students receive a one-year membership in CPCA with all its benefits of expert advice, at no cost.
Chef Courses for Seasoned Professionals
It's possible to become a very skilled chef without obtaining a higher education diploma, but the opportunities to advance are certainly there. Busy chefs don't always have the time for more class work, though certifications may need to be refreshed at specific milestones along the highway. Gourmet chefs may show great interest in international culinary institutes when they can find time in their careers to enroll in specialty chef courses.