Three students in Tri-County Community College’s (TCCC) Culinary Arts program were honored during the college’s second annual La Toque Blanche ceremony on October 13 at the main campus in Peachtree.
Each student received their white chef’s hat at the ceremony, which symbolized their successful journey to the halfway point in the Culinary Arts program.
“This was my second time attending a La Toque Blanche ceremony and it was still just as emotional for me,” said Dr. Donna Tipton-Rogers, president of TCCC. “These students have worked incredibly hard to reach this milestone and I’m honored to be able to celebrate their success tonight.”
Sami McCoy, a resident of Murphy, said she chose the Culinary Arts program at TCCC as it provided the opportunity for her to grow her creativity.
“When I graduated from high school they had just finished the culinary building, which I took as a sign,” McCoy said. “Being in this program taught me just how much I love being able to share my creativity with others through food.”
McCoy said her ultimate goal in the culinary field is to someday open her own bakery.
“Pastry is really my passion,” McCoy said. “I’d love to do a little traveling and then settle down and open my own place.”
During the summer McCoy took an internship at the Chophouse in Murphy, which she said helped her to overcome having any self-doubt she felt in the kitchen.
“I learned so much about how restaurants operate,” she said. “But more importantly, I learned a lot about myself and how necessary it is to have self-confidence in everything I do.”
When Chef Greg Spencer presented her with her white chef’s hat, McCoy said she felt extremely proud.
“We worked for months to plan and practice our presentation,” she said. “To be able to finally do it for family and friends was so awesome and emotional.”
For Spencer Gentle, a resident of Hayesville, the Culinary Arts program was an outlet for him to share his love of food with others.
“I really just wanted to make people happy,” Gentle said. “Now I get to watch others enjoy something I created on my own from scratch.”
Gentle’s goal in the culinary field is to travel and try different global cuisines.
“I’m really into history, so learning about how food has changed over time is my favorite part of our classes,” Gentle said. “I want to travel and try the different kinds of cuisines we’ve spent the last few semesters learning about.”
Gentle recently took an internship at the Chophouse in Hiawassee, which he said helped him better understand the culinary industry.
“It was my first real job,” he said. “It helped me realize what it takes to work in that environment and was overall a great experience.”
Gentle said after receiving his chef’s hat from Chef Spencer he felt a great sense of accomplishment.
“I can see that I have come a long way,” Gentle said. “I’m doing a lot more than I would’ve thought myself capable of with my techniques.”
For more information regarding TCCC’s Culinary Arts program, call 837-6810.
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