Culinary Culture at El Centro College

Culinary Culture at El Centro College


[ MUSIC ] [STEVE DESHAZO:] THE FOOD AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
IS THE CORNERSTONE OF THE CITY OF DALLAS. [ MUSIC ] [STEVE DESHAZO:]
HERE IN DOWNTOWN AROUND THE SCHOOL THERE
ARE HOTELS, RESTAURANTS, THE WEST END, THE
DALLAS CONVENTION CENTER. WE’VE GOT REUNION. WE’VE GOT THE MAIN
STREET DISTRICT. WE’VE GOT HARWOOD
POPPING UP DOWN BY AMERICAN AIRLINES
CENTER AND VICTORY… LOWEST GREENVILLE, ROSS
AVENUE, UPTOWN, WEST VILLAGE. THIS CREATES A FLASHPOINT
OF CULINARY CULTURE AND EL CENTRO COLLEGE IS
RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. [ MUSIC ] [STEVE DESHAZO:] THE FOOD
AND HOSPITALITY INSTITUTE AT EL CENTRO COLLEGE IS A
VERY DIVERSE PROGRAM WITH LOTS OF OPTIONS FOR OUR STUDENTS. OUR CLASSES LOOK LIKE
THE UNITED NATIONS. AND IT’S A WONDERFUL
THING TO HAVE A DIVERSITY IN OUR CLASSROOM, NOT
ONLY OF PEOPLE AND CULTURE BUT ALSO DIVERSITY OF AGE GROUP. WE TAKE STUDENTS FROM ALL
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BACKGROUNDS WITH ALL SORTS OF TYPES OF GOALS
AND HELP GIVE THEM THE CONTEXT FOR OUR INDUSTRY SO THEY CAN
CHOOSE THE PATH FOR THEMSELVES. [CHRIS LALONDE:] TUESDAY LUNCH
IS WHERE STUDENTS GET TO PUT INTO PRACTICE ALL THE
THINGS THEY’VE LEARNED. THEY’RE RESTAURANT OWNER,
MANAGER, CHEF FOR A DAY. BASICALLY THEY’RE RUNNING IT LIKE IF IT WAS THEIR
OWN RESTAURANT. THIS IS THE ONE CLASS
WHERE THEY GET TO BASICALLY PLAN EVERYTHING
THEMSELVES, CHOOSE THE ITEMS, AND EXECUTE IT THROUGH THE REST
OF THE CLASS WORKING IN GROUPS. [LEAH ROBERTS IN
KITCHEN:] …FOR THE BRISKET AND THE PULLED PORK, I ACTUALLY
LEARNED THAT FROM MY DAD… [LEAH ROBERTS:] THE REASON
WHY I GOT INTO CULINARY WAS BECAUSE I WANTED TO
EXTEND MY KNOWLEDGE ON COOKING FOOD AND BAKING. [LEAH IN KITCHEN:]
…BARBEQUE SAUCE UNDERNEATH… [LEAH ROBERTS:] I’M
ACTUALLY STUDYING FOOD AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT. I LIKE THE FRONT OF THE
HOUSE, I’M A LOT BETTER AT IT. BUT I DID WANT TO LEARN HOW
TO COOK FOOD THE PROPER WAY BECAUSE AT HOME I WOULD MESS
UP THINGS AND I WAS LIKE, WELL I DON’T KNOW WHAT I
DID WRONG, AND SO THIS KIND OF HELPS ME UNDERSTAND
WHERE I WAS MESSING UP AND WHERE I WAS DOING GOOD AT. [MICHAELA LAY:] I CHECKED OUT
A FEW OTHER CULINARY SCHOOLS, EVEN SOME OUT-OF-STATE, AND EL CENTRO’S CULINARY
PROGRAM REALLY STUCK OUT TO ME. I WAS VERY SERIOUS ABOUT
WHAT I WANTED TO DO AND IF THERE WASN’T A SCHOOL
THAT WAS GONNA BACK ME UP, I DIDN’T WANT TO DO IT. SO EL CENTRO OFFERED BOTH,
YOU KNOW, BEING CLOSE TO HOME BUT ALSO THE SUPPORT I NEEDED TO REALLY SERIOUSLY
PURSUE THIS CAREER. [LEAH ROBERTS:] I LOVE
THIS SCHOOL, TO BE HONEST. THIS IS THE BEST CLASS
I’VE EVER BEEN IN. I MEAN EVERYBODY HERE WANTS
TO BE HERE, EVERYBODY’S HERE TO LEARN, EVERYBODY’S JUST A
BIG FAMILY AND IT’S PERFECT. [CHRIS LALONDE:] YOU HAVE TO
ENJOY SERVING PEOPLE BECAUSE, IN A SENSE, THAT’S
WHAT YOU’RE DOING. AT THE MOST BASIC LEVEL, YOU’RE SERVING SOMEBODY
SOMETHING THAT YOU MADE. IT’S MORE OR LESS LIKE ANY OTHER
HANDCRAFT OR ARTS AND CRAFTS OR WHEREVER PEOPLE
ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING WITH THEIR HANDS
FOR SOMEBODY ELSE. [STUDENT CHEF IN KITCHEN:]
…GO OVER THERE… [HAYDEN HAGMANN:] IT IS
EXTREMELY CREATIVE, IT’S… I MEAN LOADS OF SELF EXPRESSION
BECAUSE YOU’RE…YOU’RE ABLE TO CREATE SOMETHING OUT OF
VIRTUALLY NOTHING AND YOU… I MEAN, GET TO MAKE IT
COMPLETELY YOURS, I MEAN, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT NOT MANY
OTHER MAJORS GET TO DO AND SO TO HAVE A FACILITY LIKE EL
CENTRO I MEAN BASICALLY CENTERED AROUND THAT, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. I MEAN YOU GET TO MAKE YOUR
OWN WORKS OF ART EVERY DAY. [SAMUEL GUZMAN:] IT’S,
IT’S REALLY NICE TO KNOW THAT I CAN MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY
WITH FOOD AND WHAT’S BETTER THAN MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY? THIS IS THE DINING
SERVICE CLASS. IT’S OUR JOB TO SERVE
HERE AND WAIT THE TABLES. I PRETTY MUCH THOUGHT THAT BEING IN CULINARY ARTS I WOULD JUST
BE A CHEF AND I’D BE STUCK IN THE KITCHEN ALL
DAY, BUT IT TURNS OUT THERE’S A WHOLE OTHER SIDE. BECAUSE IF YOU WANT TO EXCEL IN CULINARY ARTS IT’S
NOT ENOUGH JUST TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN COOK WELL, YOU WANT
TO BE ABLE TO PLEASE YOUR GUESTS BECAUSE YOU CAN HAVE THE
BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD BUT IF YOU HAVE TERRIBLE
SERVICE NO ONE’S GONNA WANT TO COME BACK TO YOUR RESTAURANT. [STEVE DESHAZO:] BECAUSE
OF OUR LONG HISTORY IN THE DALLAS COMMUNITY
AND THE FACT THAT OUR ALUMNI ARE FOUND
SPRINKLED THROUGHOUT THE NORTH TEXAS RESTAURANT AND HOTEL
INDUSTRY, PEOPLE ALWAYS COME TO EL CENTRO COLLEGE
WHEN THEY’RE LOOKING FOR QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS. [DEAN FEARING:] THE
APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM AT EL CENTRO HAS BEEN IN
MY CAREER FOR A LONG TIME, EVEN WHEN I WAS AT THE MANSION
ON TURTLE CREEK AND EVEN AT FEARING’S OUR
APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM FROM EL CENTRO HAS BEEN NOTHING
BUT THE BEST WITH STUDIOUS, HARDWORKING, PROFESSIONAL
YOUNG COOKS. [STEVE DESHAZO:] WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE APPRENTICESHIP
PROGRAM, THIS IS A VERY ROBUST, PROBABLY ONE OF THE
MOST DEMANDING, CULINARY EDUCATION
PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. IT REQUIRES 6,000 WORK HOURS
OVER THREE YEARS DOCUMENTED AS A PART OF A PROGRAM COMBINED
WITH CLASSROOM ATTENDANCE. REALLY WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
IS CREATING EXTREMELY TALENTED AND SKILLED COOKS WHO CAN GO OUT
AND BECOME THE NEXT TOP CHEF. [ MUSIC ] [AUDREY PRIEST:] I COOKED A
SEARED CHICKEN BREAST STUFFED WITH A MUSHROOM DUXELLE
FORCED MEAT. I WAS CONFIDENT IN WHAT I WAS
MAKING ‘CAUSE I’VE MADE IT SO MANY TIMES, BUT JUST HOW
IT WAS SET UP BECAUSE IT WAS IN A CONVENTION CENTER ROOM SO
THE TABLE AND HOW THAT WAS SET UP WAS DEFINITELY DIFFERENT
THAN WHAT I WAS USED TO PRACTICING AT WORK WITH. BECAUSE I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING
I WAS ABLE TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE I DIDN’T FEEL
DISORGANIZED, WHEN I WAS REALLY ON THE INSIDE FREAKING OUT BECAUSE I THOUGHT I
WAS SCREWING EVERYTHING UP. [ANNOUNCER:] …IN FIRST PLACE AND A GOLD MEDAL
WINNER, AUDREY PRIEST. [AUDREY PRIEST:] BUT I DID IT. [ APPLAUSE ] [ANNOUNCER:] NEXT WE
HAVE CRYSTAL MORRILL. CRYSTAL WON A SILVER MEDAL. [CRYSTAL MORRILL:] I COOKED
A MALAYSIAN CHICKEN CURRY. I PRACTICED A LOT AT HOME. MY ROOMMATE GOT A
LOT OF CURRY DINNERS, AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK
I WAS MAKING CURRY. I THINK THESE COMPETITIONS
ARE IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT’S A LEARNING
EXPERIENCE. YOU’RE LEARNING NUMBER ONE,
HOW TO BE PREPARED ‘CAUSE THAT IS A VERY IMPORTANT
THING IN THIS INDUSTRY. IF YOU’RE NOT PREPARED,
YOU KNOW, AND YOU GET HIT WITH A RUSH THEN YOU’RE DONE. WHEN YOU’RE COOKING
UNDER PRESSURE WITH PEOPLE WATCHING YOU,
YOU’RE CREATING YOUR OWN DISH, THEY DON’T TELL YOU
WHAT TO MAKE, AND THEN YOU GET CRITIQUED BY,
YOU KNOW, THESE FANTASTIC CHEFS THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE
INDUSTRY FOR YEARS AND YEARS. ANY TIME I SEE AN EXPERIENCED
CHEF I ALWAYS LISTEN AND TAKE NOTES BECAUSE
IT’S IMPORTANT. THEY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE
TALKING ABOUT. [VIJAY SADHU IN KITCHEN:]
THIS FISH, IT COOKS REALLY, REALLY FAST… [VIJAY SADHU:] WHEN A NEW
STUDENT COMES INTO MY KITCHEN, IT’S MY RESPONSIBILITY TO
MAKE SURE THEY’RE PERFECT. [VIJAY SADHU IN KITCHEN:]
PRESS IT LIKE THIS… [CRYSTAL MORRILL:] THE
APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM IS BASICALLY WORK STUDY, IT’S FULL
TIME SCHOOL, FULL TIME WORK. IT’S NOT FOR THE FAINT
HEARTED AT ALL; IT’S HARD WORK. BEFORE CULINARY, MY LIFE
WAS, YOU KNOW, PRETTY BORING. I WOULD SIT IN AN OFFICE ALL
DAY AT A COMPUTER TALKING ON CONFERENCE CALLS
ON THE PHONE. BUT I WAS TALKING ONE DAY
AT WORK WITH A CO-WORKER ABOUT OUR PASSIONS AND
OUR DREAMS AND HE TOLD ME ABOUT EL CENTRO’S
CULINARY PROGRAM AND I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW A
COMMUNITY COLLEGE OFFERED THE CULINARY PROGRAM. SO,YOU KNOW, I GOT
ONLINE, I RESEARCHED IT, I THOUGHT I COULD MAKE THIS WORK
YOU KNOW, THIS IS AFFORDABLE. [STEVE DESHAZO:] WHEN WE
GET STUDENTS LIKE CRISSY, IT’S BASICALLY TAKING THAT WORKPLACE DISCIPLINE
THEY ALREADY HAVE AND REDIRECTING IT
TOWARDS OUR CONTENT AREA. CRISSY HAS JUST LATCHED
ONTO AN IMMERSION INTO THE CULINARY
LEARNING CULTURE AND THAT’S THE NUMBER ONE
ADVICE I’VE GIVEN TO STUDENTS IN MY FOURTEEN YEARS IN
EDUCATION – WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A CULINARY EDUCATION
PROGRAM YOU WANT TO FIND ONE WHERE YOU CAN IMMERSE
YOURSELF INTO THAT CULTURE AND THAT’S WHAT OUR MOST
SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS HAVE DONE. [ MUSIC ] [GABRIELA MCCORMICK:] I
GRADUATED FROM EL CENTRO WITH A CULINARY ARTS
DEGREE IN 2009. [DEAN FEARING:] GABBY HAS
BEEN WITH ME FOR SIX YEARS. I SAW THE SPARK IN HER,
WHICH I STILL SEE THE SPARK IN SIX YEARS LATER AND IT’S
JUST THAT REAL TOUCH OF “I WANT TO BE SOMEBODY IN THIS BUSINESS”
AND I LOVE THAT IN YOUNG COOKS. [GABRIELA MCCORMICK:]
IT ALL HAPPENED SO FAST, BUT I GOT A PROMOTION WITHIN TWO
YEARS AND THEN ANOTHER PROMOTION AND THEN ANOTHER
PROMOTION SO IT’S JUST, IF YOU WANT IT YOU
JUST HAVE TO WORK HARD. YOU KNOW, WITH THE RITZ
CARLTON YOU CAN GO AS FAR AS YOU WANT TO, THE
OPPORTUNITIES ARE ENDLESS. [GABRIELA MCCORMICK IN
KITCHEN:] OH, DID DARRYL TALK TO YOU ABOUT THAT CHIPOTLE? HE NEEDED TO REDUCE IT MORE,
DID IT GET REDUCED MORE? [ASSISTANT:] YES. IT DID. [GABRIELA:] OKAY. [GABRIELA MCCORMICK:] SO
I’M THE SOUS CHEF HERE, SO I’M THE DRIVER. SO DEAN SAYS WHAT HE WANTS
AND THEN I MAKE IT HAPPEN… AND I MAKE SURE EVERYBODY
ELSE KNOWS HOW IT’S HAPPENING AND THEN I ALSO WORK
ON SOME OF THE MENUS WITH OUR CHEF DE CUISINE. [CHRIS LALONDE:] THE IDEA OF BEING A CHEF IS
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN BEING A COOK, YOU KNOW. CHEFS ARE MANAGERS. IT’S REALLY THE MANAGEMENT
SKILLS THAT A CHEF CAN GET THAT IS GONNA MAKE
THE DIFFERENCE FOR THAT PERSON IN THEIR CAREER. AND SO YOU’VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO
DEVELOP, YOU’VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO TRAIN, YOU’VE GOT TO BE
ABLE TO RECOGNIZE TALENT… [INSTRUCTOR:] …AND
TRY TO GET THEM BETTER, AND IF YOUR BAD EMPLOYEE… [CHRIS LALONDE:] AND THEN ON THE
OTHER SIDE OF THAT YOU’VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO CONTROL
COSTS, YOU’VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO PURCHASE FOOD, YOU’VE GOT
TO BE ABLE TO WRITE MENUS. [GABRIELA MCCORMICK:]
I THINK THE TEACHERS AT EL CENTRO REALLY PUSH YOU. THEY WEREN’T GONNA PUT UP WITH
YOUR B.S. YOU’RE EITHER THERE TO DO IT OR YOU’RE NOT. THEY ALSO SET YOU UP FOR
REAL WORK LIFE EXPERIENCES. [STEVE DESHAZO:] THAT
MERGING OF CLASSROOM LEARNING WITH THE REPETITIOUS
WORKPLACE EXPERIENCE, THAT’S WHAT MAKES OUR STUDENTS
VERY MARKETABLE IN THE, IN THE JOB MARKET EVEN
BEFORE THEY GRADUATE, BUT WHEN THEY DO GRADUATE
THEY’VE GOT A GREAT DEAL OF PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AS
WELL AS THEIR EARNED CREDENTIAL AND SO THAT SETS THEM HEAD AND
SHOULDERS ABOVE ALL THEIR PEERS. [ MUSIC ] [DEAN FEARING:] I THINK
IT’S AN EXCITING TIME TO BE IN THE CULINARY SCHOOL, TO KNOW
THAT YOU’RE GONNA HAVE A JOB WHEN YOU GET OUT BECAUSE
THERE ARE SO MANY RESTAURANTS AND SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES
IN THE HOSPITALITY BUSINESS. IT’S AMAZING! [VIJAY SADHU:] THERE ARE
A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES. I MEAN LIKE I MYSELF,
I NEED PEOPLE HERE, YOU KNOW, I NEED GOOD STUDENTS. [ MUSIC ] [MICHAELA LAY:] EL CENTRO HAS
GIVEN ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO GROW AND EL CENTRO HAS GIVEN ME A
GREAT BASE TO BE ABLE TO LEARN IN THIS KIND OF ENVIRONMENT. IT’S A GROWTH OPPORTUNITY
LIKE NO OTHER. [HAYDEN HAGMANN:]
JUST KIND OF LEARNING THAT I COULD MAKE THIS A CAREER
AND I COULD DO WHAT I LOVE FOR YEARS TO COME,
WITHOUT A DOUBT I’M EXCITED FOR THE FUTURE. [CHASTITY ALEXANDER:] THE
CULINARY WORLD HAS ENTERTAINED EVERY SINGLE PART OF ME THAT
CRAVES SOMETHING DIFFERENT. THERE’S JUST BEEN SO MANY
BLESSINGS IN THIS INDUSTRY THAT TO PROVE TO ME THAT
THIS IS WHERE I BELONG. YEAH! [ MUSIC ] [CRYSTAL MORRILL:] I FEEL LIKE
GOOD THINGS ARE IN STORE FOR ME, I AM EXCITED ABOUT THIS
CAREER, I’VE ALREADY COME SO FAR IN JUST, YOU KNOW, A YEAR AND
A HALF THAT I’VE BEEN IN IT. SO, I’M SUPER EXCITED. GOOD THINGS ARE IN STORE. [ MUSIC & LAUGHTER ] [ MUSIC TAG ]

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