By: Jonathan Baca, Senior Reporter | Photos By: Scott M. Roberts
Global Cuisine teaches students vital skills they will need to work in the culinary industry, said Chef Mark Patel.
Students spend the first half of CULN 2212 learning important skills like making hors d’oeuvres, setting up buffets and customer service, followed by three weeks of menu preparation and finally four weeks of operating the fully functional Global Café, where students serve meals to friends, family and faculty, he said.
Patel said he is excited to give his students a realistic look at what it will be like to cook in a fine dining establishment, and give them a chance to use the skills they have been learning in all their other classes.
“I really feel that CNM is doing a phenomenal job at giving students a great education that compares even with those big Ivy culinary schools,” said Patel.
The menu the students cook includes dishes from countries all over the world, including India, Russia, Italy, Morocco and Greece, he said.
“We’re really excited about the menu. It’s going to be a great learning experience for these guys,” he said.
Culinary Arts major Elizabeth Adair said she has been cooking since childhood, and eventually wants to start her own catering business.
She said her skills have improved greatly in the basics, intricate design and decorative work since she started the class.
“I think this is a great group to work with. The instructors are very knowledgeable,” said Adair.
Learning new skills in the classroom as opposed to on the job in a restaurant is much more laid back, she said.
CNM has created a comfortable environment where she can make mistakes and be creative, she said.
“In the real world, it’s sink or swim,” said Adair.
Culinary Arts major Kimo Clardy said that he has worked in the industry for 23 years, but had never gone to school for cooking.
At first, he felt he could get further with a degree, but was doubtful how much he could learn from the class. be he has been pleasantly surprised by what the program had to offer, he said.
“I have learned tremendous amounts. The instructors are all great,” said Clardy.
Patel, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, said he has been cooking in restaurants since he was 14 years old.
Since graduating, he said he has held positions ranging from line cook to fast food to fine dining, eventually landing a corporate chef position, he said.
He said that he has taught people how to cook on the job throughout his career, but that he had never taught in a school setting until he began at CNM last fall.
“I love it. Teaching students how to cook is so rewarding,” said Patel. “I’ve been there, I’ve done what they’ve done, and with all the experience that I have, I feel that I can give them a really well-rounded education with real-world experience.”
Patel said he felt that coming from one of the premier cooking schools in the country; he has been very impressed with CNM’s culinary program.
“It’s very refreshing to see that everyone in our department, from the dean level down to the faculty, take our work very seriously, and we do the best that we can every single day,” said Patel.
He said he wants people to know that they do not have to spend a fortune to get a great culinary education.
“If there are any students out there who are thinking about cooking as a career, definitely take a look at CNM,” said Patel.