The four students who comprise Tri-County Community College’s (TCCC) inaugural culinary arts class spent the last two years working diligently toward their dreams of one day becoming a professional chef. Those dreams culminated in an elaborate, seven-course capstone dinner for honored guests and judges on April 28 at the main campus in Peachtree.
“The Culinary Arts program has been a dream of mine for many years, and now to see that dream being realized with this group of students is an honor,” said Dr. Donna Tipton-Rogers, president of TCCC. “I am so incredibly proud of what these students have accomplished.”
Jarrett Palmer, Jonnie Paneto, José Renteria, and Case Summerlin each built a menu around a unique type of cuisine featuring seven courses, to be judged by professional chefs within the community, as well as guests invited to the capstone dinner.
“The capstone dinner was designed to showcase more than just what these students can do in the kitchen,” said Chef Greg Spencer, culinary arts instructor at TCCC. “These students had to do everything the exact way they would do it as a professional chef, from doing mock hiring sessions to processing purchasing invoices to actually designing the layouts for their tables.”
“The capstone dinner is only utilized by a handful of colleges in the state,” said Spencer. “I wanted to ensure the students leaving our program were fully ready to enter the workforce after their training here at TCCC.”
Following the dinner, the students each met with the professional chefs within the community, who spent the evening judging their courses.
“Most of the feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” said Palmer, who chose French Nouvelle as his cuisine. “It’s very beneficial for us to hear their critiques, because in the end, it makes us all better chefs.”
For more information regarding the culinary arts program at TCCC, contact Spencer at (828) 835-4242.
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