Potato, Potahto! Culinary Arts Come Alive at Pickens

Dulce Regaldo, left, observes her classmate pouring liquid egg whites into a measuring spoon.

Picture this: several secondary and postsecondary students gather around a food preparation table to review the day’s takeaways for making flaky potato and leek empanadas. Proper boiling techniques?
Check. Holding a butcher knife safely while slicing onions? Check. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This scene was not possible at Pickens Technical College before August 2016. The two-semester Culinary Arts program is underway now though, and for participants like Kyle Jacobs, the opportunity for growth – even beyond knowing your way around the kitchen – is long overdue.

“This class also helps you with social skills,” Jacobs said. “In the business aspect, you’ll always need social skills with whatever job you get.”

While students may not have their sights set on becoming the next “Chopped” champion, the program is designed to lay the foundation to becoming a master chef. Over the course of 30 credit hours, students learn the fundamentals of cooking and baking techniques, food properties, nutrition, and basic kitchen management. Students who earn the culinary arts certificate will have an important credential to open doors to greater ventures down the road.

Dulce Regaldo participated in Pickens’ Hospitality and Tourism program last year and is seeing a bridge between the two areas of study.

“Hotels are big in having restaurants and room service, and with hospitality we got to learn about management. It’s really cool how you can see both perspectives.”

A student shows off his leek empanada before putting it in the oven.