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Classic Cooking Academy Blends French and Native American Techniques

The Native American Culinary department at the Classic Cooking Academy offers Native American students the basics as well as Native American cooking trends and techniques.
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Only one culinary school combines classic French techniques with American Indian trends and traditions—the Classic Cooking Academy (CCA) in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The nonprofit school teaches culinary basics and has a Native American Culinary department, which according to the school’s website, “encourages the use of ingredients indigenous to the Americas in new ways the world has yet to see.”

The department encourages healthier ways of food preparation to address the growing problems of diabetes, heart disease and obesity among American Indian populations and teaches the history of Native American culinary trends and traditions.

According to the Office of Minority Health—part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services—American Indian/Alaska Native adults are 2.1 times as likely as white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes and 1.6 times as likely to be obese compared to non-Hispanic whites.

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CCA was granted accreditation through the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) in February so students can now qualify for federal financial aid.

Graduates of the school go on to work in restaurants, hotels, casinos and catering companies. David Collier, who studied under the school’s co-founder and executive chef Pascal Dionot, is now executive pastry chef for The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City.

“I have been able to take the tools Chef Pascal started me with and use them to please my customers and food writers, and have even gone so far to be chosen as a semi-finalist for National Pastry Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation,” Collier says on the website.

With the next session beginning March 5, 2012 interested students can apply online at