The Drummond Culinary Academy
Rancho Cielo Drummond Culinary Academy is dedicated to providing at-risk youth with an opportunity to gain classroom training, work experience and transferrable skills that help them become employable in the culinary and hospitality industry.
The Rancho Cielo Drummond Culinary Academy is one of several programs at Rancho Cielo tailored to help transform the lives of our youth through learning new skills, on the job training, and professional mentorship. Our goal is to train at-risk and underserved youth, aged 16-24, in the Salinas and Monterey County area in a work environment that is conducive to learning, where they feel challenged, respected, and accountable.
Our ultimate desire is to prepare culinary academy students to become qualified to work in commercial restaurants or hotels. Hospitality is the second largest industry in Monterey County, contributing $4 billion per year to the local economy, through many potential employers.
Executive Chef Crystal Birkemeier takes the students through a nationally-recognized culinary arts curriculum, including Safe Food Handlers Certification. The skills learned dramatically increase their employability. The students gain work experience in the Academy Dining Room, open to the public on Friday nights, as well as during the many special events occurring on campus.
The Rancho Cielo Drummond Culinary Academy offers academic instruction leading to the completion of high school diploma requirements in partnership with WASC-accredited, John Muir Charter School- based out of the Nevada County Office of Education in Nevada City, CA. JMCS is the premier charter school for California Youth Development programs statewide, operating at 45 sites statewide. Rancho Cielo is the only culinary academy in its portfolio.
The ten-month program, split between the kitchen and the high school academic classroom, results in a culinary certificate and a high school diploma. Students will complete a 200 hour externship program working with local restaurants to gain additional employment experience. The program offers job readiness training, as well as placement and referral services for graduates.
83% of the first graduating class (2011) are still working as of 2016.
More than 4 students have graduated from culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu and L’Escoffier Schools.
Scholarships are available for culinary schools, provided through supportive partners and sponsors.
- 16 to 25 years of age
- Meet Workforce Investment Act (WIA) income eligibility requirements
- At-risk: low income, drug use, gang involvement, criminal background, truancy, school credit deficient, school drop outs, probation referral, homeless, on foster care
- Drug free
- Required to follow strict dress code guidelines and behavioral expectations while enrolled in the program, both on and off campus
- Must follow the law and conditions of their probation
Students will receive the following services from the program:
- Culinary Arts Instruction by Certified Chefs
- Career and skills assessment
- California standard instruction (Literacy & Numeracy) by Certificated Teachers
- Credit recovery toward a high school diploma
- General Education Development (GED) instruction on the way to earning their diploma
- Basic computer skills instruction
- Small class sizes; individual instruction as needed
- Behavioral health counseling as needed
- Opportunities for electives, such as art, music and physical education
- Assistance in externship placement for additional work experience
- Stipend payments earned for working events outside of school hours
- Pre-Employment skills training and job search assistance and placement
- Access to community resources and individual case management
- Assistance with referrals to supportive services (transportation, job search clothing, child care, etc).