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October 20, 2022

Celebrated chefs, JCCC student prep for success at Wylie Hospitality and Culinary Academy.

Dynamic, hands-on opportunities teach groundbreaking techniques and, for Chef Apprentice students like Melshonn Canada, can lead to award-winning experiences!

JCCC’s 36,000-square-foot Wylie Hospitality and Culinary Academy has recently hosted world-renowned innovators from the U.S. Culinary Olympic Team, top-ranked Chef John Coletta and internationally recognized Chef Keith Sarasin, who each unpacked the freshest ingredients and rolled out their gourmet skills.

Culinary Olympians score high with JCCC team

JCCC’s culinary competition team got a taste of gold medal excellence and global techniques when the U.S. Culinary Olympic Team visited campus in August.

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Olympic team travels the country every four years prior to competition. On its path to Olympic glory, the team aproned up and entered JCCC’s state-of-the-art innovation kitchen to demonstrate the elaborate meal it will present at the next competition.

“The student team got to see what they’re going to do at the Olympics, which includes some innovative culinary techniques,” said Jason Lafferty, Director of Hospitality. “It’s very valuable for students to see the action.”

Chicago top chef teaches trade secrets

In that same afternoon, students met Chef John Coletta, Executive Chef of the award-winning Quartino Ristorante in Chicago.

Chef Coletta continued the demonstration for students inside the Wysong Family Culinary Theatre’s demonstration kitchen, a sophisticated 75-seat facility.

Rolling up his sleeves, Chef Coletta prepared mouth-watering hickory-smoked bacon skewers accompanied with summer Swiss chard risotto.

“I enjoyed carrying out a demonstration in such a world-class facility,” he said. “It was fun and interactive, designed so everyone could contribute.”

Visiting Chef Series dishes up international education

Indian dishes spiced up a segment of JCCC’s Visiting Chef Series demonstrated by celebrated author Chef Keith Sarasin. In this series, attendees observe groundbreaking techniques from distinguished experts from all over the world.

With the growing importance of sustainability, Chef Sarasin’s inventive recipes teach how to combine international flavor with regional farm-to-table ingredients.

“Chef Sarasin shared how India’s cultural heritage has guided generations of cooks,” said Lafferty. “India’s rich history has supported local ingredients, sustainable agriculture and the use of indigenous spices to craft incredible dining experiences.”

JCCC sharpens competitive edge

With such fantastic teachers, it’s no wonder JCCC students are prize-winning standouts!

At the ACF National Convention this summer in Las Vegas, MelShonn arrived ready to participate.

With more than 1,300 chefs, food service professionals and students in attendance, MelShonn admitted she was a little nervous going into the competition but kept a positive mindset.

“I wanted to give the judges a taste of my passion through my cooking,” she said. “It was overwhelming at times, but I kept pushing because I was representing JCCC, myself and my family.”

JCCC was very well-represented that night—MelShonn won third place!

“Once I heard my name called, I could finally breathe,” she said. “Excitement came over me. I made everyone proud and all my hard work had finally paid off.”

Apply today—feed your ambition

“None of us are born chefs,” said Chef Coletta. “We evolve into being chefs through learning and mentorship.”

Ready to fire up a fast-paced career? There’s always something cooking at JCCC’s nationally recognized Hospitality & Culinary Arts program. Learn from the best, at home and across the country, and apply today!