Just as a good recipe requires some solid preparation, a good educational experience can benefit from some smart pre-planning.

If you’re thinking about or you’ll soon be joining the OCI family to pursue your degree in culinary arts or baking, we’re excited to help you take steps towards your dream career!

At the Oregon Culinary Institute, we take new student orientation seriously for our culinary students to help you make the most of your studies in culinary school. We want you to hit the books, and the kitchen, running, and we hope your first soufflé rises beautifully and tastes even better.

Our experienced admissions team is here for you— from how to prepare for culinary school, moving to Oregon advice, best Portland neighborhoods to live in, books to read before culinary school, and other helpful advice.

To help make things easier while you’re preparing to start your culinary program and during your transition to Portland, we’ve put together some helpful resources. Some of these steps are just plain common sense, while others might be a bit surprising.


Get Oriented With OCI Campus Map

Getting your bearings in a new place is one key element of how to prepare for culinary school.

Few things in life cause more confusion and feelings of inadequacy than getting lost. A wrong turn on campus could make you late for class or at least cause the stress level to rise. Who needs that? In a worst-case scenario, you could even end up in the wrong class, preparing gnocchi when you should be making quiche.

That’s why we provide you with helpful information ahead of time. The map of the campus and surrounding area provides first-time students with the following essential info:

The location of the OCI offices north of SW Madison Street

Step by step directions from all four cardinal points of the compass

The spot of the nearest bus location

The addresses, phone numbers, FAX number and email address that you will need

A detailed drawing of the location of the classrooms, kitchens, and offices on campus

With this handy information, you’ll look like a seasoned student as you make a beeline for each destination. You’ll be able to focus on what to expect in culinary school instead of asking for directions.


Find Convenient & Affordable Portland Lodging

You’re never really settled at a new place until you find the right lodging, that’s why we recommend a few resources for our students. You can check out Craigslist to look for affordable lodging in a variety of Portland neighborhoods. With the right filters in place, it’s fairly easy to search for lodging choices that are appropriate for culinary students.

Classrooms and kitchens for Oregon Culinary Institute are located in SW Portland, so taking time to research and find a place to live that is nearby or accessible by your preferred method of transportation will make getting to and from campus much easier.

A good selection of single rooms and shared housing is regularly available, and many of the locations have access to public transportation. You can check out the OCI Housing GuideForRent.com, apartmentlist.com, rent.com, and trulia.com.

Some housing options even offer discounts to culinary students, so don’t forget to mention you’ll be attending OCI!

For detailed information to help with your search, if you have any additional questions, or if you would like more specific moving to Portland advice, you can also contact an OCI Admissions officer.


Find Your Transportation

Another necessity on how to prepare for culinary school is reliable transportation. Fortunately, Portland has a strong network of public transportation. Check out the TriMet website site to learn about the following:

Bus fares

Bus routes

Maps and schedules

Stops and stations

Payment options

Info on light rail and commuter rail service

The site also includes informational blogs, gear for sale, monthly passes, and how to set up phone payment and social media alerts. The interactive site has a help center for people learning the ropes of public transportation.


Learn What To Expect in Culinary School

Many students have a variety of questions when they first come to school, or even before they arrive. In fact, it is often difficult to know what to expect in culinary school. Because of this, our helpful OCI Admissions officers are here to help.

Our contact form allows you to inquire about such things as tuition rates and the time frames of an upcoming semester. An admissions officer will contact students upon request, and officers can set up a time for a tour of the campus. A campus tour is one of the best ways to get a feel for the school.

More information to students is available at the offices on campus. Interested applicants can visit the offices of the Admissions and Financial Aid, the restaurants, classrooms and kitchens, and the Student Services and Administration. Most offices are open during normal business hours during the week. While on campus, you can even try out a meal at the student-run restaurant.


Request OCI Info

You can download a free information kit about the Oregon Culinary Institute, designed to help you decide if the school is the right place for you and your culinary aspirations.

After filling out some brief info, you will receive an information packet tailored to your interests. We offer programs in culinary arts, hospitality management, and baking and pastry. Depending on the program, students can receive a diploma or an AOS Degree upon completion of coursework.


Prepare for Culinary School at OCI

The more prepared you are for culinary school, the more you are likely to gain from the experience. Finding out more about the school, the city and the culture of the area is a great way to ready your mind for this great adventure. Here are some suggestions for investigation:

Learn More About OCI – The Oregon Culinary Institute is a division of Pioneer Pacific College. It is the only locally owned and operated school of its kind in Portland. The curriculum of the school emphasizes hands-on learning, and students get the opportunity to work in a student-operated fine-dining restaurant.

Learn More About Portland – Keep Portland weird is a familiar mantra around this unique city. It is famous for the brewery scene, Powell Books and its excellent and interesting cuisine. The home to many talented chefs, many coming from OCI, Portland’s restaurant scene is known for local, seasonal, and farm-to-table dishes.

Learn More About OCI Graduates – The goal for culinary students is to make a living and an impact on the culinary world. Many graduates from OCI are doing just that. We have former students who work as chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs throughout the world. A few examples: Alvin Cailan, owner and chef of Eggslut in Los Angeles and Las Vegas; Linda Naylor, pastry chef at Nicoletta’s Table in Lake Oswego; Jun Robles, food cart operator and chef at Neesay in Portland.


Contact OCI About Our Culinary School

Whether you’ve already applied to OCI or you’re still doing your research, preparing for the next step towards your culinary career can help set you up for success.

To request a tour of OCI or to request information, contact our offices today to begin your culinary journey. We can be reached by phone at 888-OCI-CHEF or 503-961-6200.