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NECC Expands Culinary Arts Program

Submitted by on December 7, 2021 – 7:09 pm

NECC Culinary Students Tim O’Brien and Ilanys Jorge.

Haverhill, MA (December 7, 2021) After opening its Lupoli Family Institute of Culinary Arts in downtown Haverhill in the fall of 2020, Northern Essex Community College has announced that it will be expanding and offering two new credit programs, an associate degree in culinary arts and a certificate in baking and pastry.

While the two new programs won’t be official until the fall of 2022, students can enroll this spring and start taking courses that can be applied to the new associate degree and certificate.

The college currently offers a certificate in culinary arts, which will transfer into the associate degree, and an associate degree in hospitality management.

“With these new programs, we can maximize the use of our beautiful facility, preparing more local residents for culinary and hospitality careers,” said Chef Denis Boucher, coordinator of culinary programs.

Denis Boucher, Culinary Program Coordinator

The NECC Lupoli Family Institute of Culinary Arts occupies two floors in The Heights, a newly built 10-story luxury building on Merrimack Street with sweeping views of the Merrimack River. The space includes classrooms, laboratories, and state-of the art kitchens, including a kitchen built especially for baking and pastry.

According to Boucher, Northern Essex adopted both new programs from North Shore Community College, which was phasing them out due to facility issues.

Northern Essex’s 29-credit certificate in culinary arts will help students land a good job, but the associate degree will get you a career, said Boucher. The certificate transfers seamlessly into the 60-credit associate degree, and both programs can be completed full or part time while working. The associate degree can be transferred into a bachelor’s degree program.

The baking and pastry certificate is designed for students who want to specialize in this area. It can be taken as a stand-alone certificate or combined with an associate degree in culinary arts.

The view of the Merrimack River from the NECC Lupoli Institute of Culinary Arts.

Starting a culinary program in the midst of a pandemic presented challenges, according to Boucher, but the number of students enrolled in culinary programs at Northern Essex doubled from the fall of 2020 to the fall of 2021.

“We anticipate that interest will continue to grow,” he said.

The college’s culinary programs are overseen by an advisory board that includes a dozen leaders from the culinary industry, most of whom are employers, eager to hire Northern Essex graduates.

In addition to credit programs, noncredit courses for the community will be offered at the NECC Lupoli Institute of Culinary Arts. A new series will begin in January, featuring themed date nights as well as one-night classes in a variety of topics from Latin Street Fair to Seafood 101.

If you’d like to learn more about credit culinary programs at Northern Essex, visit the website or contact Chef Denis, or 978 241-4781.

To learn more about noncredit options, visit the website or contact Suzzette Turnbull, program manager, NECC Corporate and Community Education,

Northern Essex Community College has campuses in both Haverhill and Lawrence. It offers approximately 60 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  Each year, 6,000 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 2,000 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  For more information, visit the website at or call 978-556-3700.