Culinary Arts Program Adds Flavor to Education

Ani Asatryan
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The Culinary Arts program at Glendale Community College has come a long way since it started with only two classes in 1974. It now offers more than 27 classes in three programs, providing students hands-on experience, serving gourmet lunches every Wednesday in the dining room in the Los Robles building. It also sponsors the Culinary Arts Club.

Students are able to receive certificates in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Dietary Services Supervisor (DSS),
and Food Service Management/Culinary Arts, upon completion of the course.

“The education that you get here is more in-depth than $36,000 culinary classes,” said Mike Bersani, assistant general manager of the Culinary Arts Club. “They spend a week on just one topic, when we take an entire semester here to learn it.”

The classes offered range from basic table setting to advanced international cuisine. Many students go onto careers in America’s fastest growing service; others use their skills to enhance their own cooking.
In the culinary arts program, students not only learn recipes and techniques of cooking, but they also receive hands-on experience that prepares them for working in the real world.

“We work as a team and we have a lot of fun,” said Yeimei Wang, director of the program. “But when it’s business there can be a lot of stress and a lot of pressure.”

The program puts students to the test every week when they open their kitchen doors and turn their classroom into a restaurant. Wednesdays at noon they serve a full-course meal to anyone on campus for only $7. “It’s a great place to get to know your professors,” said Wang.

The classes have also catered many campus events and have participated in events such as the L.A. County Education Conference. This way, students are exposed to a variety of catering services such as buffets, luncheons, teas, receptions, and many others. They also learn time-management, sanitation, and safety in the kitchen.

The Culinary Arts Club, which had been deactivated when the program was relocated a few years ago, is once again functioning. With a new home for the culinary arts program, the club has found a home of its own, and has already participated in many events.

Their most recent project was selling pies for Thanksgiving. There were three kinds of pies offered and
75 orders were anticipated. But within three days, more than 150 orders had come in.
“I thought that the club
would be a good way of
the program,” said instructor Andrew Feldman, adviser for the club. “I was pleased that we had so much support on campus for our pies.”

The purpose of the club is to raise money for visiting different food service companies such as Nestle and the La Brea Bread Factory. Along with trips, guest speakers are also invited to speak to students.
“Students want to work on projects that are not covered by the class,” said Feldman. “The club offers a greater knowledge about all the aspects of food service.”

“I want more people to join,” said Elena Barsanti, a member of the club. “I’m willing to put time into it because it’s worthwhile.”