June 4, 2023

Can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen

“It wasn’t hard to get in but to stay in was kind of difficult,” said NCC Culinary graduate, Evan Shimoskie. Shimoskie graduated from NCC’s culinary program in 2018.

NCC’s culinary program brings the heat, but it also brings endless opportunities and opens doors for its students. Shimoskie explains it can be gruesome, just as any major can be.

“You have exams every month and if you fail then you have to restart the next semester,” said Shimoskie. He explains that, “they have changed the program a lot since I graduated.” He believes they took some classes out and shortened some, “I’m not 100% sure what they still have and what not.”

Shimoskie explained how the program taught him everything he needed to know about the industry, from appetizers to desserts. “When I was there it was a full year of schooling, but it literally taught me everything about food and cooking,” he said.

Shimoskie said the program opened up doors he didn’t even know existed. “10/10 easy to get a job straight out, the instructors all get job offers to give to the students,” said Shimoskie. This NCC program, among many others, holds an endless amount of opportunities that can be offered to students.

Chef Francine M. Marz, Culinary Director, wanted to open up about the program and her role. She oversees Hampton Winds, catering and the entire culinary program. This includes the culinary curriculum and managing the program’s full and part-time instructors, administration and staff.

She started her culinary career at the mere age of 16. “I got my education at Johnson & Wales University and then worked my way up through the ranks in the culinary industry to become Executive Chef at the age of 27,” said Marz. She worked at several hotels, resorts, and restaurants around the country, including Disney World.

“I started in education in 2008 as an adjunct instructor at The Art Institute of Phoenix and worked my way up to Culinary Director. In 2013, I was then recruited to open the culinary school in Montgomery County and was lucky enough to get the job here at Culinary Director at NCC in 2017,” said Marz.

How does she determine what the students will learn and what foods they will make? She explains, “It is all based on the learning outcomes of each of the courses. We also like to cook with seasonal ingredients as much as possible and try to expose the students to a wide variety of cuisines/foods and ingredients.”

 “The menus for the restaurants are created by the chefs and we try to be as innovative and seasonal as possible without going too crazy. We have to balance cost of ingredients, along with availability and student learning outcomes. We also have the students create weekly specials and help guide them so they are continuously growing and learning,” said Marz

“We also teach them meat cutting, American regional and Global cuisines, along with a wide variety of other things such as supervision and management, professionalism and lots of others things,” said Marz. “This program is a lot more than learning how to cook, because a chef has to wear lots of different hats to be successful,” she explained.

The culinary program is a five-semester program which allows students to learn everything from career development, to purchasing and product ID, along with basic and advanced culinary, baking and pastry techniques. The actual cooking part takes approximately one year. Students then continue on with general studies for the last two semesters to earn their Associates in Applied Science.

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