Culinary Arts & Hospitality Studies, formerly known as the Hotel and Restaurant Department was founded in 1936 by John and Hilda Watson Gifford. It is the first two year hospitality program in the country; and the first program emphasizing the culinary arts. The department’s beginnings were humble, initially located in the basement of San Francisco’s Galileo High School with only 12 students. In 1955, the department relocated to Smith Hall, it’s first permament home. In 1963, with financial assistance from the Statler Foundation, Statler Wing was built adjacent to Smith Hall and again expanded in 1973.
The current facilities in Smith Hall and Statler Wing are now home to a café, cafeteria and fine dining restaurant; four kitchens, a bake shop, a hotel style storeroom, three lecture rooms, a lecture/demonstration auditorium, the Alice Statler Library and Gifford Resource Center. The department has an on-going enrollment of over 250 students from around the world.
In 1999, CCSF organized all credit and non-credit hospitality and culinary related programs under it’s current department name: Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies. The Hotel and Restaurant Department simultaneously changed it’s name to the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Programs and the Hospitality Training Program changed it’s name to the Culinary and Service Skills Training Program.
The Culinary and Service Skills Training program has operated the Educated Palate restaurant in the basement of the Downtown Campus since 1982. Students train for one semester to acquire dining room service skills and one semester for culinary skills. In addition to local employers, well established relationships with Local 2, the Apprenticeship Training Program and the Hotel Education Fund has provided many employment opportunities for students.
In 2005, with monies made available from the Proposition A Bond measure of 2001, the Educated Palate restaurant at the Downtown Campus was moved from the basement to street level and a new, state of the art restaurant continues to train students in service and culinary skills. The restaurant retained it’s name, the Educated Palate.