Instructor and Chef Lisa Inlow prepares an omelette
Saddleback College’s culinary department has been spicing up their program, including competitions and catering large events accommodating food for up to 500 people.
There have been previous competitions and events like the “Chili Bowl Cook-Off” and the California Community College Family Consumer Sciences Symposium.
The winner of CCCFCS symposium was Armando Contreras, a student in the culinary department at Saddleback.
Chef Lisa Inlow, talks about the new changes the Culinary department has been developing to enhance student experience and success.
“The program has been more of a home economics, like a stir-and-pour kind of thing. Now that they’ve decided that they want it to be more professional, we’re getting there,” Inlow said. “I’m in the middle of tech review right now, so I’m rewriting this program so it’s more professional. Last year I was able to make a lot of changes. We’re in uniform now.”
The program is being rewritten completely to make it more professional for students striving to create a career for themselves. The program is trying to create an environment in the likeness of a real culinary workplace.
“I was talking to Chef, and one of the first classes was Microwave Cooking. That shows you the difference,” said Andrew Borgeson, who is involved in the culinary club “Gastronomers Anonymous”.
The culinary program has been consistently advancing, from Microwave Cooking to classes like Garde Manger, Catering and Banquets, and French Cuisine.
“We actually have classes which are contemporary cooking, and what we do is, we take everyday food like a pasta dish with marinara and we try and take that and make it as healthy as possible,” Borgeson said. “So instead of cream or sour cream, we use yogurt. That’s where I think the future of food is going.”
Not only does the culinary department participate in competitions but they cater as well. There are catering classes for students who would like to become involved in the catering business whether for experience or as a career.
Normally, the more advanced students handle the catering ideas, like what will the theme be and organizing the whole thing. The culinary students even catered for the Gala last year.
“$80,000 was raised for scholarships through the Saddleback College Foundation, and our students catered the entire Gala for three hundred people,” Inlow said.
The next Gala the culinary students will be catering for will be next year on March 31, and will be prepared to cater for over 300 people.
To put some of the culinary classes in the spotlight, there are many different specialties offered for the student either trying their hand in a certain genre of cooking, or even the student who wants to be well educated in all the genres.
“So we have a French Cuisine class, which is more French style cooking. We have Italian, and we have contemporary, which is a type of food,” Inlow said. “We have an American regional class, which we start East and work our way West. It’s a lot of technique then it goes into taste, different flavors of food.”
The department has a lot to offer any students striving for a career in the culinary business, or even just an interest in food. The classes are all designed to teach the students proper technique and taste.
“I love this program, and I just think it’s great,” Borgeson said.
The Culinary department has a couple of events they will be catering too on campus, mainly in November.
“My catering class is going to be catering “Family Night”. Then the club will represent themselves there,” The catering class is also catering another event called “The Feast of Lights” which is a concert series in the beginning of December.”
The Culinary department is advancing in leaps and bounds, creating a great atmosphere for ambitious culinary students and the structure of a real culinary kitchen plus career opportunities.
“We have so much we look forward to in the future with this,” said Borgeson.