Culinary Arts | Orange Coast College

Culinary Arts | Orange Coast College


Hi my name is Bill Barber and I am the
program coordinator of culinary arts. We offer a basic certificate in culinary
arts which leads into an advanced certificate that can be paired with the
general ed requirements for Associate in Science degree in culinary arts. We also
offer an advanced certificate of achievement and baking and pastry which
can be paired with the general ed requirements for the Associate in
Science in Advanced baking and pastry. The classes in both programs can be
taken full or part-time, so if the student can take the classes full time
they should be able to finish the certificates in approximately two years.
I think we have a dynamic group of instructors that works closely with the
students. Many of them are certified by the American Culinary Federation as
Executive Chefs. So my name is Ali Flecky and I’m a part-time instructor at
OCC. I would say this program is unique in the way that it’s a lot more
realistic where there’s an actual running cafeteria next to you, there’s a
bakery that’s large production. They do weddings, they do catering, so you’re a
little bit more prepared I would say when you go off to your job. You can kind
of feel that kitchen energy while you’re here and when you’re walking around
someone’s behind, hot all the terminology you’re kind of comfortable with that
when you go out to a job. I get a lot of emails wanting OCC students. People see
the difference in them and see that they were in that real environment and
they’re kind of more ready. Students take classes in the program starting with
things like sanitation and safety as well as the beginning kitchen classes
which cover things like knife usage, how to set up your station, how to work in a
safe and sanitary way. One of the last classes that they take would be the
classes that we have in our Captain’s Table restaurant where they actually
prepare the food for guests that are waiting for their meal. It’s just the
high energy, you don’t know what’s going to happen next in the kitchen.
I’ve always been interested in cooking and eating and watching television shows.
The experience has been amazing and rewarding and challenging and honestly I
thought I could just pop in and take a cooking class and you can’t do that. You
either have to do it or not do it and I’m like okay I’m in I’ll do it.
Typically each year the school provides opportunities for competition. Students
can apply to participate in the Hot Food Team. Students that are involved on
the team get critiqued on their work by certified master chefs. It’s just a
student team, it’s five members and then you just go through certain phases of
cooking, skills phase and cooking phase and you compete against your local teams
first and state teams, then you move on to regionals then nationals if you beat
those particular competitions. We won our regional competition and now we’re
headed to national competition. We practice twice a week and we do a
four-course meal and then we also have a skills section where we have to do knife
skills and butchery skills. Graduates from the programs can go on to cooking
positions in just about any commercial kitchen, any kitchen that offers food for
sale, our students are qualified to hold those positions from entry level prep
cooks to mid-level line cook positions, later in their career area supervisors,
corporate chefs. My name is Gabriel Caliendo with lazy dog restaurant and
bar and my title is vice president of research and development and co-founder.
I started at Orange Coast College in 1994 and my focus was the culinary arts
program. But I really feel that after doing that Hot Food Team and after my
the two or three years it took me to get through all of the certificates, it
set me up really nicely for you know for what would come in the future. So my
number one advice is go get a position in the field. If you want to be in the
restaurant business you have to at least be working in the restaurant business
and the best of both worlds is to be working in the industry while you’re
getting educated about the industry. If you can do those two things at the same
time your success rate chances are much higher.

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