Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Two photos next to each other. Photo on left is a street level view of a three story brick building with sign that reads "Culinary arts." Photo on left is the front of a building with a wooden facade; sculpture of a torso with a white chefs hat and a white jacket.
Photos by Rain Robertson

Compiled by Deb Mandel, 2022


1974 – present


2020 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square



In 1974, Roberta L. Dowling began teaching classes on European cooking in her home, an endeavor whose popularity precipitated the opening of an established school of culinary arts. Roberta graduated from Madeleine Kaman’s Modern Gourmet cooking school in the Boston area and opened the Cambridge College of Culinary Arts (CSCA) with her husband William.

Smiling woman with short light hair and light skin facing the camera wearing a white shirt and jacket.
Founder Roberta Dowling. Photo courtesy Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

By 1980, 400 students a year arrived at 2020 Massachusetts Avenue to become skilled chefs. Accreditation and recognition by the International Association of Culinary Professionals followed, and Certificates have been increasingly awarded since the 1980s. Throughout the years, the School has invited top restaurant chefs and cook book authors to speak and demonstrate cooking of specialties. CSCA was invited several times to participate in the Anthony Spinazzola Gala Festival of food and wine event (ceased in 2007), which helped raise money for hunger relief programs, restaurant job training and culinary school scholarships throughout the Boston area. In March 1997, CSCA participated in the “Chocolate Foods Day” event held at Harvard Square’s Sheraton Commander Hotel, a fundraiser for the Cambridge Performance Project, which closed in 2019.

Students from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts volunteered with Operation Frontline for the national nonprofit outreach organization Share Our Strength, which brings volunteer chefs, caterers, nutritionists, and dietitians to local communities to assist with budgeting, shopping, and cooking skills. In 2004, CSCA was presented with a commendation from The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizing 30 years of teaching and inspiring future chefs.  

In 2006 CSCA teamed up with Todd English’s Rustic Kitchen (now closed) at 1815 Massachusetts Avenue in Porter Square to offer second-semester student chefs the opportunity, experience, and curriculum credit to be “chef for a night” at the award-winning Italian-inspired bistro. 

Roberta Dowling passed away on August 17, 2015 at age 75.



Block, Betsy. “Chocolate Fools Day.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 20 March 1997, p. 15.

“Business: Culinary Students are ‘chef for a night. The Cambridge Chronicle, 30 March 2006, p.7

“Chefs to Present Goods.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 10 October 1991, p.13.

“Obituaries.”  The Cambridge Chronicle, 27 August 2015, p.15.

Riccardi, Victoria. .”Get Back to School… in a Cooking Class.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 25 August 1994, p.17.

Riccardi, Victoria. “Student Chefs Look to the Future.”  The Cambridge Chronicle, 8 February 1996, p.15.

Thomas, Krista.  “Foodies Share Strength in National Drive.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 19 February 1998, p.19.