Orange Coast College has an acclaimed culinary arts department that helps serve the student community while learning the skills necessary in the culinary field.
Culinary Arts students lend their hand in many of the food service operations seen on campus.
The Student Center Cafe and Quick Corner, Coast Snack Shack, Bbq @ The Grove, Captain’s Table and the Eclectic Café are all run in close conjunction with the culinary arts students.
The Eclectic Café, for example, is a three-course gourmet meal run on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Center Cafeteria by the Quick Corner. Cost for the meal is only $6.25. Culinary students prepare the meals and food service staff serves them. They set up tables with real silverware and plates.
“[The Eclectic Café] is a great way of showcasing our program,” said Thomas Selzer, the instructional food service general manager. “A lot of the food was utilized in the class learning process.”
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) accredits the Culinary Arts program at OCC.
“What that means is that the ACF has come here and gone through the program with a fine tooth comb and looked at how we teach and what we teach, the quality of our graduates and so on, and given us their stamp of approval to teach culinary arts,” said Bill Barber, program coordinator of culinary arts.
Students shouldn’t be worried about not knowing the nutrition information because the OCC Cafeteria posts nutrition facts for its foods online despite not being required to by law.
All students receive a manager’s “Serve Safe” food handler’s card, which is also not required for cafeterias by law.
It’s a higher level certificate than what’s required by most food service jobs.
Serve Safe certification means that the students go through sanitation and food safety courses and must pass an exam to be certified.
“Students can earn a Certificate of Achievement in Basic Culinary Arts in about three semesters. That can lead into an Advanced Culinary Arts certificate with an additional two semesters. If they want to complete the general ed requirements they can get an Associate's degree in Science of Culinary Arts,” Barber said.