ECC’s culinary students are cooking up a career

Have you smelled the waft of sweet and savory treats coming from Building I? Well, that’s because the culinary program is home to pastry arts, culinary arts, and hospitality management. 

Jennifer Loiacano, Director of  the Spartan Terrace Restaurant, gave the Observer a tour of the Culinary Program. In this program, students can receive a degree in culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality management.

The students were in action, creating delicious dishes for the Spartan Terrace Restaurant and also practiced skills by preparing food in the production classes.

Loiacano explained that the program has had new challenges because of COVID-19. 

“The program had been hit hard by COVID. ” Loiacano said. “But restricting class sizes has been one way the culinary department has been able to continue offering its hands-on production labs.” 

Despite the lower class sizes, students in the program are still advancing. There are many different kinds of students in the culinary program, all with unique goals.

Scott Stellmach is a student working to achieve a degree in hospitality management, and he is looking to move up in the culinary program. Currently he is a manager and has dreams of owning a restaurant someday.

Alex Boshan is working to achieve a degree in Culinary Arts. 

“I am enjoying the program and want to be a professional chef,” Boshan said. “I dream of working in the city.”

Regan Roath is in the program for a better job. She wants to work in the city after graduating. Roath explained that she enjoyed the program because the teachers are helpful teaching the hands on experience. 

The culinary program provides a wonderful experience to students interested in culinary and hospitality. In the four hour class, CUL 208 Food Production, there are two components, culinary arts and restaurant service management. This class allows students to create dishes that are served in the Spartan Terrace Restaurant twice a week. 

The culinary component of the class is taught by Chef Patrick Stewart. He not only oversees the class but works on his own dishes such as Moroccan Lamb and Apricot Tagine.

The Spartan Terrace offers a diverse menu, from salads and small plates to fancy entrees. The restaurant also offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

On March 3, the students worked harmoniously in the kitchen on their respective dishes, with a sense of community.  They spent about two hours in the kitchen creating dishes such as Mini Arancini, Kale Caesar Salad, Caprese Flatbread, Chicken Piccata, and more. 

After the students were finished cooking, the food was plated and sent from the kitchen to service. Service approved their dishes before they could be served to guests in the restaurant. 

The Spartan Terrace opens on most Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:45 AM, with reservations required to get in. Reservations are often made weeks in advance, as the restaurant is busy on most days. The culinary art and restaurant service management work together to provide a satisfactory dining experience for guests. 

Classes such as CUL 208 offer valuable skills to students looking to go into the food industry.

“Working in the food industry can be exciting each day and brings new challenges and new things to learn,” Loiacano said. “There are a lot of opportunities for advancement.”