Culinary Arts students at Lorain County Community College are getting the full range of experience as they learn the skills necessary to operate in a commercial kitchen through classroom work, live food preparation and serving in the on-campus Rathskeller restaurant and even being judged by top chefs from the American Culinary Federation.
“Our students get the entire experience here,” said Adam Schmith, LCCC culinary program chef. “They’re learning the skills and then being put to the test preparing for the public two nights a week at the Rathskeller.”
Several of the students participated in the recent Greater Northeast Ohio Culinary Classic that was held at LCCC’s Norton Culinary Arts Center on campus. This competition featured 20 chefs from Cleveland, Columbus, Michigan and even Los Angeles in a creative cooking contest.
Some of the LCCC culinary students competed while others assisted the professional chefs during the competition.
Students Kristina Mullen, Ray Garza and Laurence Fenderson took home bronze medals in the competition.
Mullen, in her third year of the LCCC culinary program, made an airline chicken breast with pesto pine nut stuffing. She plans to enter the professional culinary world when she graduates this summer, and she said the things she’s learned at competitions will stick with her as she moves beyond the classroom.
Mullen had the pleasure of being judged by Certified Master Chef William Franklin of Colorado (there are only 67 certified master chefs in the country). She said he “kind of tore her dish apart” and told her how it could be better, an experience that she said left her motivated.
“The way the chefs examine your dishes is amazing,” she said. “Classes build you up, but competition gives you experience you can’t really get in a classroom.”
This competition was presented by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), Akron-Canton Cooks and Chefs.
“This competition brought top-notch chefs to Lorain County to compete in a rigorous, demanding contest,” said Schmith. “It also gave both our culinary students and those from the Lorain County JVS a great opportunity to work with high-achieving professional chefs.”
The Rathskeller restaurant, located in the Norton Culinary Arts Center, is open from 5-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings now through May 9. It is a capstone project class staffed by LCCC culinary arts students under the watchful eye of Schmith.
The students prepare all of the food while others wait tables so they get the full understanding of restaurant operations, Schmith noted.
To make reservations for the Rathskeller, call (440) 366-7007.
For more information on the LCCC Culinary Arts program visit www.lorainccc.edu/culinary.