BY Amanda Sotelo
Culinary Arts student Jonathon Perez has been busy in the kitchen preparing his recipes and menu for the Fourth Annual Texas State Technical College Food Festival on Thursday, February 8.
Perez and his peers from Culinary’s International Cuisine class will host the annual event that represents 10 countries, creating at least 30 different dishes from across the globe. They are expected to serve close to 200 people.
The Tennessee native, who is currently in his last semester in the program, has been assigned Russian food and will create four different dishes for the festival. He said this has been something he has been looking forward to for a long time.
“I’m pumped and ready for the experience,” he said. “This is the first time I will do something like this on such a large scale. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Culinary Arts Lead Instructor Emma Creps said the goal of the food festival is to expose students to what they should expect when they graduate from the program.
“The food festival helps our students build confidence as a leader, work on their communication skills and practice for the future,” said Creps. “Whether they’re going to work for a restaurant, open a business or work in the catering industry, the skills they learn are needed.”
Creps added that her first-year students studying food preparation also have the chance to participate in the fun and help prepare dishes alongside students in their last semester.
“A lot of learning and training goes on between the first and last semester, and it’s important to get the first-year students involved so they know what to expect and can be better prepared,” said Creps.
The food festival also includes some competition between the students, one of whom gets to take home the People’s Choice Award medal.
As for Perez, who took third place in last year’s Iron Chef competition, he said he has a few surprises up his sleeve and looks forward to working with his first-year partner in making their table and food the most enjoyed and delicious for the win.
“I want to win so badly,” said Perez. “There are some people that doubt me, and I want to prove that I can do this. No matter what, though, overall it’s going to be a great learning experience and I can’t wait.”
The food festival is open to TSTC and the surrounding communities. Admission is $10 and includes tasting and one People’s Choice Award ticket, which counts as one vote for a favorite table and a chance to win door prizes, which are baked and prepared by TSTC’s baking class.
“We encourage everyone to come out and support our students, who are striving to be professional, successful chefs,” said Creps. “Come and enjoy food from across the world and have fun.”
For more information on the TSTC Food Festival, call 956-364-4754. To learn more about TSTC Culinary Arts, visit tstc.edu.