Feeding Knowledge: Culinary Arts serves up real world experience


The Culinary Arts students at Texas State Technical College just wrapped up their biggest project of the semester: a student-run bistro.

Everything from the name of the bistro, Al Dente, and menu creation to food preparation and serving was completed by the students. The seniors in the class took charge of all the cooking and bistro operations, while the freshmen, sophomores and juniors took responsibility for hosting the dining room, taking orders and serving meals.

Devin Jackson, who is expecting to graduate in Spring 2016 with his associate of applied science degree said this experience was invaluable to his future, especially because he hopes to return to TSTC as a Culinary Arts instructor.

“I love that this program gives us the opportunity of getting hands-on experience that prepares us for the real world,” said Jackson. “I had never taken care of tables and placing orders before, so working that area in the bistro really opened my eyes to a new world.”

Jackson said he hopes this bistro continues for other classes to come and that they are able to build upon this project in the future.

The main objective of this project was to give students the training needed in preparing food to order, managing kitchen and dining room staff, and handling finances and budgets.

Culinary Arts Department Chair and Chef Emma Crepps said this project was very exciting for the students. They learned how to interact with each other in the kitchen and with the customers. Students also realized that the way they respond to situations matter and that the key to a successful kitchen and happy patron is communication.

“This is the type of experience they would not have received anywhere else, unless they were already working in the industry. This was the place to make mistakes and learn from them,” said Crepps.

“These are things you can’t learn in a book.” Students who enroll in Culinary Arts can earn a certificate or associate degree and can expect to find employment in areas of the food industry such as restaurants, hotels, cruise lines, schools and hospitals. Culinary Arts is also offered at our Abilene, Waco and Williamson County campuses.

Registration for summer and fall semesters begins April 4. Apply anytime online at tstc.edu. For more information on the Culinary Arts program in Harlingen call 956-364-4754.