Culinary Arts Program is Cooking

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Calling all future cooks of GCC!

The Culinary Arts Program, which has been running at GCC for 29 years, is the perfect start to a career in the food industry.

The program, directed by Yeimei Wang, has been running at GCC since 1975, and has been very successful. “Since then, we added many things, like fine internship programs in business communication and occupation service, which helps students find jobs in the community,” said Wang.
In the beginning it was held on the second floor of the Administration building, but made its move to the Los Robles building in 1999.

“The purpose of the program is to help students learn about the restaurant business, how to cook, serve, and how to prepare them for a job,” said Anthony Battaglia, one of nine instructors in the program.

The Culinary Arts Program is composed of different programs, such as the Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, and Hotel/Restaurant Management. “We train students to get certificates to work in all phases of the hospitality industry,” said Wang, “which includes restaurant, catering, hotels, cruise ships and any phase of the food business.”

Other classes include Foods for Modern Living 101, Beginning Food Preparation 111 and Dietary Health Care 118. Every program offers something different for people who want to enter into different fields in the culinary world.

Students start off by learning the basic training needed for whatever it is that they are interested in, such as cooking and serving. There are approximately 25 to 52 students in each class, and space is sometimes limited.

The building itself is very organized and is separated into three sections. The first section is a classroom, where students learn from their instructor the day’s lesson, the second section is the actual kitchen, which includes every culinary instrument possibly needed and a great working space. The third section is an elegant room which looks like a dining room/restaurant. It is there where the students serve their creations, and entertain onlookers.

Indeed, not only does the program offer cooking lessons, it also teaches the discipline and organization needed to be successful in the culinary field. The program is also very dedicated.

“We are active on campus, and we cater more than 150 special events a year,” said Wang. “Basically, we serve the whole campus.”

Every Wednesday, the students create a restaurant in the building’s elegant room, serving their delicious food. “Special events really give students a realistic picture of what they hope to expect once they’re in the business world,” said Wang.

The Culinary Arts Club, headed by student Jessica Mangun, is held on Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Los Robles Building. It is also where the club sells pies, cakes and other tasty desserts.

Not only does the program have a club, it also competes, and very successfully, in culinary competitions.

On Friday, there was a cooking competition at the Culinary Arts Symposium in Downey involving 11 schools, where two GCC students ended up winning prizes for their great cheese appetizers. In first place came Rosalyn Reason, and in third place, Lia Caprare. The Culinary Arts Department and the Culinary Arts Club helped sponsor the Culinary Arts team, and Andrew Feldman, an instructor, coached the team.

This fall, a new Hospitality Law class will be available for GCC students, which will help restaurant managers to prepare themselves from unwanted lawsuits.

Also, during the fall, a nutrition class, Nutrition 125, will further the knowledge of nutrition. The culinary program is a member of the California Restaurant Association.