Culinary Arts students at Lorain County Community College are getting the full range of experience as they learn the skills necessary to operate in a commercial kitchen through classroom work, live food preparation and serving in the on-campus Sage & Seed restaurant and even being judged by top chefs from the American Culinary Federation.
“Our students get the entire experience here,” said Adam Schmith, LCCC culinary program chef. “They’re learning the skills and then being put to the test preparing for the public two nights a week at Sage & Seed.”
The Sage & Seed restaurant is located in the LCCC Norton Culinary Arts Center. It is open to the entire community on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings each spring semester. It is a capstone project class staffed by LCCC culinary arts students under the watchful eye of Schmith.
The students prepare all of the food while others wait tables so they get the full understanding of restaurant operations, Schmith noted.
Several of the LCCC students also participated in the 2017 and 2018 Greater Northeast Ohio Culinary Classic that was held at the Norton Culinary Arts Center on campus in January of each year. This competition featured chefs from Cleveland, Columbus, Michigan and even Los Angeles in a creative cooking contest.
Some of the LCCC culinary students competed while others along with Lorain County JVS culinary students assisted the professional chefs during the competition.
In 2017, students Michael Castro and Andrew Lorince earned silver medals while Kristina Mullen, Ray Garza, Laurence Fenderson, Dan Jacobsen and Jasmine Motley took home bronze medals in the competition.
“The experience is such a rush,” Mullen said. “The things I learned in the competition will stick with me beyond the classroom.”
“The way the chefs examine your dishes is amazing,” Mullen added. “Classes build you up, but competition gives you experience you can’t really get in a classroom.”
In 2018, students Jack Wagner and Jordan Krystowski earned the first gold medals in the competition by LCCC students. Students Antonia Hajnikova, Charlene Reinhard, Laurence Fenderson and Shontae Jackson each earned bronze medals in the competition.
The competitions are “a big win for our program and a statement of our direction,” Schmith said. “Our students performed with a high level of integrity, skill and passion for the industry and were amazing ambassadors to all of the public that visited the culinary campus.”
“Chef Schmith goes above and beyond for us and he is very patient,” Mullen said.
For more information on the LCCC Culinary Arts program visit https://www.lorainccc.edu/culinary.