(HARLINGEN, Texas) – A love for baking and creating recipes she learned from cookbooks guided chef Emma Creps to her career as a Culinary Arts instructor at Texas State Technical College. The five years she has spent at TSTC have brought her many unforgettable memories and experiences that she gladly shares with the future culinary artists she is inspired by every day in the classroom.
“My first job was at a bakery in a grocery store,” Creps said. “I remember the first time I was allowed to make the doughnuts and the bread. When I saw the transformation of the dough to a loaf of bread in the oven, I knew right then and there, this is what I wanted to do.”
Her journey to teaching began after she was selected to go to culinary school while enlisted in the Army. At the time, she assumed teaching would only be temporary.
“The more courses I taught, the more I truly started to enjoy training students,” she said. “I love being in the kitchen. No matter how many times I have taught a class that teaches how to julienne an onion, or how to make a stock, I feel excitement for my students because they are learning something new.”
The Culinary Arts program offered at TSTC is one that Creps says prepares students very diligently for their careers.
She credits the instructors in the program for bringing top-notch insight to the classroom.
“Our program has well-trained instructors with a lot of experience,” she said. “Our students get excellent training, whether it is in baking or cooking techniques, food and meat preparation, dining room and customer service, or international and American cuisine.”
One of her TSTC colleagues, chef Ayla Cabarubio, said Creps’ work ethic is something that rubs off on her students.
“Chef Emma leads our team with her relentless work ethic and continuous focus on growing and refining the program,” she said. “In the classroom, she expects students to perform with integrity and professionalism. She not only teaches them the cuisine, or how to cook and bake, she teaches them how to be leaders.”
The lessons that Creps teaches go beyond culinary arts.
“She provides a learning environment where students are challenged to refine not only their culinary skills, but also their professional, interpersonal skills,” Cabarubio said. “In the classroom, she takes on the role of both instructor and mentor to her students. Her leadership helps our team stay on track with our goals, which are providing our students with the best training possible and shaping them to get hired in the industry.”
Becoming a mentor to her students is a responsibility that Creps holds very dear.
“I get a great feeling of accomplishment when I see my students develop their culinary skills and go on to hold jobs in leadership positions,” she said. “As their mentor, it makes me proud that they share with me what they are doing in their careers. They know that the TSTC Culinary Arts program is their support system.”