ABOUT CSCA – A PREMIER CULINARY ARTS SCHOOL IN NEW ENGLAND
Over 45 Years of Culinary Magic
CSCA is an iconic New England landmark, and for 45 years has been highly acclaimed among the nation’s premier culinary schools. Here, students gain the essential knowledge and foundational skills a great culinary education demands – classic fundamentals of cooking and baking, history and influences of the world’s greatest cuisines, techniques for mastering common and exotic ingredients, and more.
Much More Than a Culinary School
As a CSCA student, your education and experiences will take you far beyond just learning the basics. And because of the school’s prime cambridge location, you’ll have the opportunity to explore exciting culinary trends while participating in events taking place in the bustling greater Boston area. We strive to create a life-changing experience, and expect your confidence to soar as we illuminate your culinary path and ultimately showcase what makes you, you.
Cambridge School of Culinary Arts was founded in 1974 by Chef Roberta Dowling and her husband William. Roberta was a graduate of Madeleine Kaman’s Modern Gourmet cooking school. She began teaching people how to cook from her home in 1974, and in 1980 began developing CSCA’s curriculum for serious students aspiring to work in the food industry in the greater Boston area and beyond.
Roberta celebrated the 30th anniversary of Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 2004 and was presented with a commendation from The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, recognizing CSCA for 30 years of teaching and inspiring future chefs. She was a friend, a cheerleader, and an advocate for adults transitioning careers into the culinary and pastry arts.
Throughout the decades our curricula have evolved to be rigorous and robust, and to this day we honor our late founder’s love of food, culinary innovation and exploration, and excellence in culinary arts education.
Located steps from the Porter Square subway station on the red line of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation System (Boston’s transit system known as “the T”), CSCA is easily accessible from almost any part of the city. A fantastic walking and biking city, Cambridge hosts restaurants of all types, from those highlighting the latest trends in modern cuisine to more approachable farm-to-table concepts. The Schlesinger Library, one of the most renowned culinary libraries in the world, is about one mile away from the school. As a CSCA student, we encourage you to make the most of our proximity to industry leaders and notable institutions such as Formaggio Kitchen, Alden & Harlow, Oleana, and Flour Bakery. Our graduates have enjoyed accessibility to jobs on Cape Cod, ski resorts in Vermont and New Hampshire, and inns in Western Massachusetts.
CSCA students join us from across the United States and from nations around the world, forming an incredible melting pot of cultural backgrounds and experiences. Many students set up residence in Cambridge and neighboring cities, while others take advantage of flexible scheduling to commute to and from their home base. Many students maintain employment during non-school hours, helping to offset the cost of education.
Food is more than our jobs. Food is our responsibility to the community. Philanthropic and charitable activity is central to our concept of hospitality. The CSCA community is generous with time, energy, money, and the use of school resources to support causes important to us.
Each year, we encourage students to participate in events including:
- Taste of Ginger, benefitting Joslin Diabetes Center
- Pie in the Sky, benefitting Community Servings
- Taste of Cambridge, benefitting many charities
Students and staff are also involved with Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters, Future Chefs, Community Cooks, and Women’s Lunch Place.
Request a Donation
CSCA makes monetary and goods contributions to causes important to us and our community. We will consider charitable donation solicitations from area not-for-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, and hunger associations. Your request will be given careful consideration and should CSCA choose to participate, we will contact you accordingly.
CSCA is committed to reducing the impact we and others have on the environment through its operational practices. After all, we only have one earth and it is the source of our ingredients, livelihood, and passion.
We are proud to work with the City of cambridge to compost our food scraps into renewable energy and fertilizer. Every group of students, Professional or Recreational, collects leftover food scraps including egg shells, bones, vegetable scraps, and cooking blunders for compost.
CSCA sources our produce, meat, and seafood locally from trusted vendors. Used cooking oil is picked up and converted into energy, and many of our students and staff reduce their carbon footprint by biking, walking, or taking public transit to school.
Remembering Our Founder
Roberta’s cooking career was extensive. She began teaching for Madeleine Kamman at Modern Gourmet during its first year of operation (l968-l969). While with Ms. Kamman, she received both the Teaching and Professional Chef’s Diplomas, taught non-professional classes and the Professional Chef’s Program, and was named the Senior Teacher of Italian Cuisine. After leaving Modern Gourmet in l974, she opened her own cooking school (CSCA) and catering business (DeGustibus Catering).
In 1976 she traveled to Bologna and Venice where she studied with and received diplomas from Marcella Hazan, author of The Classic Italian Cookbook; Richard Olney, considered as the master of French Provincial Cuisine; and Julie Dannenbaum, founder of one of the largest cooking schools in the United States.
Roberta taught French, Italian, and European cuisine to professional chefs and restaurateurs throughout the United States. Her extensive memberships included The American Culinary Federation, The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), The American Institute of Wine and Food, The International Association of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR), and Les Dames d’Escoffier.
“Cooking is not just about book learning. Cooking is about using your senses. A great chef can look at the food in front of them and quickly understand what’s going on. I love to teach people to step outside of the recipe and really understand food.”
In addition, Roberta contributed original recipes to numerous magazines and cookbooks and was selected as one of the contributing chefs for the cookbook Boston’s Best Recipes. She has been featured by the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Yankee Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. Roberta was also a featured guest on WBZ-TV Channel 4’s Women and WCVB-TV Channel 5’s Good Day Show. She received Channel 4’s Evening Magazine’s prestigious Best Bet Award for cooking schools in the area and was a guest on Evening Magazine. Further, Roberta has been honored with an Award of Excellence in the Entrepreneur category from IACP for her life-long contribution to the culinary arts. In 2013, she was named Educator of the Year by WCR, who recognized her dedication to teaching and impact in the culinary community.
Roberta served as a party planner, food consultant, and food stylist for a variety of audiences in the Boston area. Through her catering company, DeGustibus, she catered private events for such eminent individuals as Princess Grace of Monaco, Julia Child, Senator Edward Kennedy, Sixty Minutes news correspondent Lesley Stahl, Humberto Cardinal Medeiros, and famed Boston Globe food editor Anthony Spinazzola. Notable corporations and organizations served by Roberta’s talents include RCA, Honeywell, Polaroid, Cabot Corporation, People Magazine, Bloomingdale’s, Boston Opera Company, and the Boston Symphony.
Roberta passed away on August 17, 2015. Her legacy will continue to live on through the thousands of CSCA graduates, past, present, and future.