Culinary arts program officially opens new building.

Spring semester is in full swing at Tyler Junior College. Every semester brings new courses and developments to the campus. Last year, TJC started building the facility for the new culinary program.  Although the facility is not fully completed, classes have already started for the spring.

In the Fall of 2017, TJC was approved to start its culinary arts program.  Ever since the program was authorized, TJC has been working to kickstart the enrollment as soon as possible, From hiring a new department chair to building a new facility for the new courses. As a result, the program will be having its first classes this semester. the Culinary program has many different courses students can take that include subjects like basic food preparation, intro to the Hospitality Industry and fundamental baking. As with most programs at TJC, the program will offer different courses for the fall and spring semesters.

The Culinary courses are currently being taught by the new department chair Larry Matson. Prior to coming to Tyler, Matson worked as the Culinary Director for the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Dallas for 15 years. Before he worked at the school in Dallas he worked at the Art Institue in Houston for 11 years as a chef instructor. As the department chair of the new program, Matson has many goals for the new program.

“I want for the students to excel and do well in the industry, so that we can become [one]of the top programs at the school, so that we attract people from outside of the area and just help students grow and start their careers off,” said Matson. Although culinary arts is a popular field, there is some difficulty for instructors teaching new students.

 “The hardest part is that people come in thinking that they are just going to learn how to cook every day. They don’t think that they are going to have homework,” Matson said

Culinary arts have many different skills that go into learning culinary. Culinary arts is not just about cooking but also learning the proper leadership skills to lead a kitchen or business skills to run a restaurant.

“Running a kitchen, you need to understand how to cook, but you also need to have a little business sense. You need to be able to supervise and train people. You need to know how to maintain the facilities and equipment. A lot of the time they are not aware of a lot of the nuances that are a part of running a kitchen,” Matson stated.

The new Culinary Arts program bring countless new opportunities to TJC students. the culinary arts program has plans to open a restaurant where students can order meals in the future.

“The way that classes are set up ,with the associate and the two certificates programs, we need to offer the Quantity food and Service class in the second semester. I am combining those two classes together, so that we[can] run the restaurant during lunch two days a week.” Matson said. This restaurant will not only serve as an new food option on campus, but also as a training ground for the new culinary students.

Although it has only a week since classes started, the new Culinary students are showing a lot of promise.

“My favorite thing has been everybody’s enthusiasm. They have been very proactive. A lot of them have already been in high school culinary programs. Also, a lot of them work in the industry, so they are trying to get that step ahead.” Matson said

Culinary Arts maybe seem like a difficult field but like every career, you have to keep pushing forward to accomplish your goals. Culinary not only gives you skills for the kitchen but also skills for life. This program is a wonderful addition to TJC’s expanding list of programs offered at TJC.