Magdalena Maciel

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Magdalena Maciel, of Harlingen, has a love for baking. Her goal is to launch a catering business that specializes in desserts.

She enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus for the spring 2022 semester and is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Her first attempt at baking began with a chocolate cake from scratch at age 7. Although it was not successful, she realized the error was due to wrong measurements.

“By the age of 15 I continued to practice more on my baking,” she said. “I come from a family of seven. My mother taught me how to bake from scratch. That is how she made everything. Then

I would prepare the desserts myself whenever the family felt like eating them.”

Her specialty desserts include pineapple upside-down cake, carrot cake and pecan sandies.

She often bakes desserts and other tasty treats as a side business for family, friends, and those who have heard about her through word-of-mouth.

For more than 25 years, Maciel utilized the Medical Records Transcription certificate she earned from TSTC in 1990. She served as a patient representative at the Heart Clinic (now South Heart Clinic) in Harlingen. Then she scheduled patients for the East Surgery Holding Area at Valley Baptist Medical Center.

Maciel made the decision to close her medical field career in June 2021, enabling her to pursue TSTC’s Culinary Arts program with assistance from a family connection.

“My sister’s father-in-law made it possible for me to continue my education,” she said. “He paid my tuition for the first semester. I am very grateful for his assistance. He is aware of my talent.”

Maciel has had a fulfilling experience in the Culinary Arts program so far.

“We are learning how to make bread, soups and sauces from scratch,” she said.

She added that the knowledge she has learned from the instructors is very helpful.

“Their advice is to always measure precisely when you are cooking,” she said. “I look forward to my overall education in this program.”

The yearly median salary in Texas for chefs and head cooks is over $56,000, with more than 7,700 chefs needed by 2028, according to

TSTC’s Culinary Arts program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and several certificates of completion at the East Williamson County, Harlingen and Waco campuses.

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