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The California Culinary Academy, associated with Le Cordon Bleu, was founded in 1977 by Danielle Carlisle in San Francisco, California. Carlisle started the culinary training with four kitchens and six chef instructors in an old brick building in downtown San Francisco. Her first class of 20 students for culinary training enrolled in the summer of 1977. Fueled by an increasing demand for cooks and chefs the Academy's opening signaled the first program of its kind on the West Coast.
In 1981 Foremost McKesson Corporation acquired the Academy and in 1985 the Academy moved into its current location at 625 Polk Street, which includes two full-service restaurants, a retail shop and banquet facilities.
In the early 1990s, the Academy created a television series and video collection entitled "Cooking At The Academy" that has appeared on public television in the United States and around the world.