(HUTTO, Texas) – Five candidates for graduation in Texas State Technical College’s Culinary Arts program in Williamson County were honored Friday with a teleconference celebration.
Nelson Adams, a TSTC Culinary Arts instructor, said the online gathering was an idea the students developed and brought to him to implement.
The candidates for graduation are Victoria Cruz, Chasey Davis, Davyn Garcia, Nicole Hanks and Luis Rodriguez. Most of them already have jobs in the Austin area.
“That has been par for the course for this group, and I have been lucky to simply be a conduit to make their great ideas come to life,” Adams said. “They are a phenomenal group of students that I am proud to say are ready for the workforce.”
The celebration’s guest speaker was Chad Blunston, executive chef at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Round Rock. He encouraged the students to respect their work and listen to others to learn.
“Make good decisions, be dedicated to your team, yourself and to your owner,” Blunston said. “Your role is to master and learn and pass it on to someone else.”
Lissa Adams, TSTC’s associate provost in Williamson County, thanked the students for their work not only in class, but also outside of it — baking cookies to decorate at Halloween, preparing Thanksgiving dinner for employees and catering special events.
“You are a special cohort,” she said. “We hope that you will come back and visit us. We do accept deliveries.”
Mark Schneider, statewide director of TSTC’S Culinary Arts department, told students to share knowledge with humility and keep practicing their skills.
“It is special how you bonded and supported each other in the kitchen,” he said. “I think that will flow into your work sites.”
Schneider encouraged the students to compete in culinary contests.
“I can tell you through experience, once I got in the competition arena, I met those chefs, judges and mentors that saw something special and put me in the right place at the right time and moved my career forward,” he said.
Michael Smith, senior field development officer for The TSTC Foundation, surprised the students by announcing the organization will cover their first year of membership in the American Culinary Federation. He also encouraged the students to join the TSTC Alumni Association.
“You have a local leadership that truly cares about this program,” Smith said.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.