East Williamson County Culinary Arts

(HUTTO, Texas) – Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Round Rock is providing big opportunities not only for fun, but also for jobs for Texas State Technical College students.

“Kalahari’s presence is a game-changer for the entire hospitality sector, and especially our Culinary Arts program,” said Michael Smith, senior field development officer for The TSTC Foundation at TSTC’s Williamson County campus in Hutto. 

“The fact that they are only five miles from campus and offer a wide array of culinary- and hospitality-related careers is a huge benefit to our students and TSTC,” he said. 

Kalahari opened in mid-November and bills itself as America’s Largest Indoor Waterpark Resort, with a convention center, spa, restaurants, shopping, live entertainment and 975 guest rooms. The resort is projected to create 1,000 jobs.

“Kalahari is a company that not only takes care of the employees that work for them, but the community as a whole,” said Nelson Adams, an instructor in TSTC’s Culinary Arts program on the Williamson County campus.

Chad Blunston, Kalahari’s executive director of culinary, said workers are hired and trained in a home kitchen or department on the property. When all of the hiring is complete, the resort will have more than 200 cooks, leaders and supervisors.

“It is really a great place for a young culinarian or experienced culinarian who wants to explore other avenues,” he said. “There are opportunities for growth in our resort. You have it all under one roof.”

Julio Diego Vazquez of Hutto, a TSTC Culinary Arts student, began working at the resort less than two months ago. He works with banquet events and also food preparation for the restaurants.

“I am learning a lot,” Vazquez said. “It’s a big place to grow.”

Adams and Blunston knew each other through the American Culinary Federation’s Austin chapter. Blunston mentioned to Adams about needing a place to train employees as the resort was under construction.

Adams told Blunston about an unused kitchen lab on the third floor of the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto.

“With both TSTC and Kalahari collaborating on the development, we soon had a brand-new kitchen designed specifically for the purpose of putting more Texans to work,” Adams said. 

Blunston said there are more opportunities at the resort for TSTC graduates.

“You can imagine the water pumps and infrastructure our building has,” he said. “You can imagine what the HVAC system looks like. There are many different elements that TSTC graduates can enjoy.”

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu. 


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