By Brianna Murphy

Contributing Writer

Photos by Victoria Deal

As the pandemic has affected both students and teachers, adapting to change is the key to success. At  Tyler Junior College, COVID-19 policies have been a central focus. While the classrooms continue to change, the culinary world and thus TJC’s Culinary Department adjusts to fit the new demands of the public.  

In addition, the Culinary Department faces challenges with social distance learning. Programs and clubs have been slower to start up this fall. Larry Matson, chair of   the Culinary Department, emphasizes the importance of  “maintaining six feet and having less people in classes.”

Classrooms are focused on individual work, a strict mask policy and frequent hand washing. Additionally, hybrid classes are offered, with labs in person, to enforce TJC’s social distancing procedures. 

Typically group projects are abundant in class, but COVID-19 has altered assignments. Occasional group work continues, but classes prioritize to “keep people separated and [while] everyone is wearing a mask.”  

Keeping germs out of the kitchen is the highest priority. “Everybody is washing hands,” Matson said. “We sanitize a lot; that is pretty standard for us.” 

Along with classroom difficulties, the Apache Kitchen has faced similar issues. The Apache Kitchen is serving less and follows a stricter protocol. Matson said they “have been serving people but haven’t been serving as many people as we did in the past.”

Furthermore, social distanced dining areas have been implemented. All degree programs continue to be offered, which includes an associate in culinary arts, basic culinary certificate and pastry arts certificate.  

Students graduating will still be able to participate in an assignment that celebrates their academic achievement. Students graduating this fall will create a  five-course menu, develop the recipes, and will prepare the meals. Each student will have their menu featured one night in November. This allows students to test their skills in a realistic environment while gaining feedback from teachers.  

Matson believes for students to succeed, they must  “always make sure to be professional and present yourself  in the best way possible.” 

For students interested in enrolling, Matson encourages  students “to have a passionate enthusiasm to get on your  feet and work hard.” Furthermore, Matson added in the  culinary business “you never know who you are going to  cross so first impressions are very important.” 


  1. I think it is awesome how the culinary arts @ TJC is still staying strong and figuring out ways for students of all grades to do their best to enjoy the full extent of the classes.

  2. This year has braught many difficulties and and has caused a lot of changes but it’s nice seeing people still work hard through all this.

  3. This is such a wonderful article to read, because it shows that even when things get hard there is still things that we are able to do to continue to push forward. I love reading about the methods implemented to still try and enjoy classes while staying safe.

  4. thank you miss for your article on culinary with covid happening, it is good to know that each department is staying safe and following protocols to maintain a safe environment for everyone. keep up the good work and follow your dreams.

  5. I think its great that the culinary arts department is doing whatever it can to help their students get as much hands on training while still managing to follow all of the rules that come with social distancing.

  6. I think it is awesome that the culinary department is up to the task to figure out how to keep serving the students!

  7. While still living in crucial moments,TJC does it’s best to keep the students going and succeeding in their classes. I think it is amazing how the Culinary Department does its best to provide meals for students.

  8. It is good to see how TJC is letting people to show off their skill in the kitchen and still staying safe due to COVID-19.

  9. This article is amazing because it shows that even through rough times, people will do what they love even if a major block is in the road.

  10. It is nice to see TJC really taking the charge in Tyler to help low the spread of COVID-19. It makes me and a whole lot of other students feel safe, which is a good thing in these uncertain times.


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