By Daniel Johnson, Investigative Reporter | Photo by Daniel Johnson
Having a club that will allow culinary students to step out of the classroom and be able to learn new things is a great opportunity, said Culinary Arts major Jessica Vallejos.
The High Altitude Culinaraian Organization was organized to connect students with the local community as well as work with different organizations in the culinary field to provide different types of learning experiences to students so they will know where and to whom they might like to take their degrees to in the future, she said.
“We are going to be doing tastings and tours of different restaurants and companies around the state, which will let us have a chance to taste yummy food that we would not normally experience,” Vallejos said.
Culinary major Kattia Rojas said an opportunity to be more involved with local restaurants and how they make decisions on their menus is extremely beneficial for her.
The major thing is that we get to learn advanced skills and gain a further knowledge of culinary arts, she said.
“If someone loved cooking or thought of cooking as a passion, this club allows them to build up that love and express it in new ways,” she said.
Faculty Advisor and part-time Culinary Arts instructor, Chef Brianna Dennis said the club will take field trips to different culinary organizations for off site learning experience as well as work in house by learning how to utilize new techniques in the kitchen.
The club will participate in different types of competitions as well, which are held in the state and will hopefully create more in house competitions for culinary students, she said.
Culinary major Alyx Lopez said another benefit of this club will be that members will be able to get the CNM name out there and be able to compare ourselves to the rest of the city and state.
“The public will no longer be clueless about the fact that CNM has a legit culinary program,” he said.
Culinary major Krystal Torres said, the new club is an opportunity to get the CNM culinary program out to the public.
“This club will allow me to be more involved with the local community, as well as give me real world experience to better prepare myself for a future in the culinary world,” she said.
Chef Dennis said, the club will be able to put the CNM Culinary program in the eyes of the state with an opportunity to give students the connections they need to survive in this industry.
“Even though this club is still pretty new to CNM there is a lot of potential for the local community, school, and us as students and members to benefit from what this club has to offer,” Vallejos said.
Chef Dennis said the club is going to be working with the Farm and Table Restaurant at 8917 Fourth St NW at an upcoming event for the club members.
The event will be a tasting of foods that are professionally prepared by this restaurant that has its own farm located on the property, assuring the product that is provided is as fresh as possibly can be, she said.
This event will be great for the group to experience what it is like to eat locally grown and organic foods that are served at Farm and Table’s restaurant quality standards, she said.
Another project will be a gastronomy day, where the club members will be working first hand with the advancements that have been made in molecular gastronomy in the kitchen, Dennis said.
Lopez said, molecular gastronomy is definitely something that is unique and not covered in most basic culinary classes.
“We are going to be able to make different kind of unique sweets and I can’t wait to try them and see how they are different than regular sweets, because that seems really interesting,” he said.
This club is going to provide us with opportunities to explore new ideas that are being introduced to the culinary industry, Lopez said.
Torres said the club will be involved with the school by running the new retail outlet area, where student made foods will be sold to raise money and get people excited about the culinary program.
The retail area for these foods is located in the RPM building on Main campus, she said.
“It will be nice to see us getting food made by the students out to the students with the use of this space,” she said.
Chef Dennis said the selling of foods out of the on site retail space will help fund the club and the culinary program.
The ability to provide a dining experience out of the RPM building in the dinning classroom is something that is being set up for the future, she said.
The club became an official CNM student organization in January of 2014, she said.
“This club was my creation on behalf of students, so they could learn more in the culinary world that is not offered by the culinary program,” Dennis said.
The club has an application process as well as a $10 fee, that students must pay to become a member, she said.
The club is available to all students in the Culinary program, but it is preferred that they have at least received credit for the principles of safety and sanitation class prior to submitting an application, she said.
“Students that want to take a chance at thinking out of the box or just want to see if they have what it takes to work in this industry, can contact me at bdennis10@cnm. edufor applications or more information about the club,” Dennis said.