Durham Tech gives its students the education and training they need to do great things, and the culinary arts program is no exception.

Photo via Durham Tech

The American Tobacco Campus is a vital piece of downtown Durham for locals and visitors alike, and this fall Durham Tech will add its new culinary arts program to the list of notable locations found there.

“Durham Tech is well known in the community, but I think this space just takes it to next level,” said Susan Paris, vice president of student learning and instructional services at Durham Tech. “It’s convenient. It allows ease of access, ease of collaboration with our industry partners and has plenty of parking.”

In an interview with WCHL’s Aaron Keck, Paris discussed the culinary arts program, this new location and what the future holds for Durham Tech students – along with the path and coursework that will lead them there.

“If they’re in the degree program, which is an associate and applied science degree, then they’ve got 66 credits of coursework in areas such as restaurant management, cost control, purchasing, catering, cuisine, baking skills,” said Paris. “But we also have shorter certificate programs which prepare students for key competencies, such as certification in restaurant management, stackable credentials so that students can gain certification in service, food safety, controlling food costs, purchasing … and they can build on that and when they’re ready come back for an associate degree.”

Photo via Durham Tech

The space in which Durham Tech will be opening its new culinary arts program was formerly occupied by The Art Institute, and the downtown location features easy access to some of Durham’s best-known restaurants and provides students with ample opportunity to participate in the Bull City’s vibrant culinary scene.

“We had been hearing from our industry partners that they had a difficult time staffing and making sure that they had the workers that they needed,” said Paris. “This program really focuses on strong collaborations. We have a culinary advisory committee as well as a hospitality advisory committee to ensure that we’re preparing students for the needs of our industry partners.”

Susan Paris, Katie Loovis, Aaron Keck

With Durham Tech’s lease scheduled to begin in June and the program slated to kick off in the fall, students will be on track to earn their associates degree in applied science in culinary arts in the near future, and receive the training they need to assume positions as trained culinary professionals in North Carolina and across the country.

You can listen to the full conversation between WCHL’s Aaron Keck, Susan Paris — the vice president of student learning and instructional services at Durham Tech — and Katie Loovis, who works with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Durham Tech Foundation board of directors, below.  You can also click here to learn more about how Durham Tech is doing great things.


Each month we will profile a “Do Great Things” initiative from Durham Tech with in-studio guest interviews and interactive articles on Chapelboro.com. This feature showcases some of the inspiring initiatives and programs at Durham Tech that make our community proud.