Cultures Brought Together Through Food

Kate Krantz

It’s astonishing how different cultures can be brought together if one just passes the bread.

Every Wednesday during the fall and spring semesters, students of the Culinary Arts Department host a multi-course luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. in the dining room of the Los Robles building for about 80 guests.

Last Wednesday, professor Michal Lao, department chair of Hospitality and Tourism Management at GCC, invited Garfield students to the banquet.

Every semester (even winter and summer) at the Garfield campus Lao offers a wide range of Restaurant Operation workshops, particularly catered to those pursuing a career in the hotel and restaurant business.

According to Lao, Garfield’s mission is to help recently unemployed immigrants and adults in career transitions to access the technique and skills required to progress in the service industry. Lao has administered leadership and customer service workshops since the spring of 2009.

“The program opens [the] door to many jobs,” said Lao.

As early as the 1930s, Glendale Community College has offered noncredit classes. Classes are held on the college’s main campus and throughout the district and all continuing education classes are tuition-free.

On a side note, Lao, with over 30 years of entrepreneurial and corporate experience in the hotel and food service industry, is a success-driven professor as well as professional.

Lao received his bachelor of science degree in business administration. When Lao immigrated to the United States, he attended the culinary arts program at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. and graduated with a master’s degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration.

“Professor Lao has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It is obvious that he enjoys sharing his knowledge about the business itself,” said Garfield student Cindy Chang, a former resident of Hong Kong.

“He’s very patient and gives you a lot of the behind the scenes as he teaches the things that can make or brake you,” said Garfield student Michael Devries.

At the luncheon, students enjoyed Hawaiian Menus vary from week to week, shifting from international and regional American dishes, displaying a chic venue and fine dining restaurant.

Waiters and waitresses, formally adorned with white button-down shirts and black bow ties, served guests inside the dining room and on the outside patio to a background of island-inspired music.

Garfield guests chatted amongst themselves at tables complete with colorful floral centerpieces, formal place settings and silverware.

Garfield student Patty Hidalgo, originally from Quito, Ecuador, explained her understanding of how the hospitality industry has improved with the many hands-on field trips of local hotel and restaurant businesses.

Chang chimed in and added that the workshop has taught her how to present herself in a socially appropriate manner as well as learning the terminology and tricks of the trade.

“Although the program is an appetizer to the course at GCC”, said Garfield student, Tina Young, the class is the perfect serving.

Chang then added, “Remember to set your goals and go for it but always continue your education.”

For more information about the Hospitality & Tourism Management program, email [email protected]

Today the Culinary Arts Department will present its last luncheon of the semester inspired by the original Titanic menu.

The meal will begin with hors d’oeuvres, including Prosciutto Palmier, Scallop Ceviche in Cucumber Cups, Smoked Trout Canap,’ Risotto Croquette, Soup, Cream of Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Croutons & Freshly Baked Rolls and Butter, Salads, Waldorf Salad Wilted Spinach Salad with Roasted Peppers, Mushrooms la Grecque, Entrees, Poached Salmon, Hollandaise with Fennel and Carrots, Saut’ed Chicken Breast with Saffron Sauce and Steamed Broccoli Florets.

The carving station will include New York Steak with Wild Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce and finally dessert will consist of Vanilla Profiteroles with Chocolate and Caramel Sauces.

The beverages will be Iced Tea, Coffee/Decaf and water.