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EPCC Culinary Symposium Provides Pathway for Future Culinary Professionals

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Staff Report

Diego Hernandez, left, an EPCC culinary student, explained how to properly prepare seedlings for growth outside the EPCC culinary program green house Monday, June 12.

High School students from across the region and David Carrasco Job Corps students joined El Paso Community (EPCC) Chefs, students and local chefs for the first day of a two-day symposium to inspire and ignite passion in young culinarians. The event offered hands-on workshops and lectures that introduced cutting-edge techniques, explained the merits of continuing their educational journey at EPCC and showed how to successfully integrate themselves into the food industry.

This is the Culinary Arts Program’s first time hosting the event, with plans to continue it annually. Workshops and classes covered several topics, including sausage smoking and grilling, molecular cooking and aquaponics.

EPCC Chef instructor Patrick Rosser (L) demonstrated sausage casing to high school students. Miguel Montalvo, right of Pebble Hills High School helpled coil the sausage.

Featured guest and 2023 James Beard nominee Emiliano Marentes conducted workshops on the art of traditional corn tortilla making. Juan Esquivel attended the event through Job Corps. Esquivel said, “This symposium was quite an experience. It showed me about all the different types of tools that can lead me into my future and my own dream job.”

The El Paso Community College Culinary program was host to a two- day culinary symposium for local high school students Monday, June 12.

EPCC Culinary Arts Program Co-coordinator Chef Jonathan Nickerson feels the symposium fills a need in the local culinary industry. Nickerson said, “It’s important to showcase everything that we have to offer in the Culinary Arts program along with everything that EPCC has to offer to students as they decide what they’re doing next.” Nickerson continued, “An event like this provides opportunities for participants to see the opportunities that exist in higher education. It’s important for them to earn a certificate or associate degree. They can enter the industry right after high school but they’re going to reach a ceiling and need the educational credentials to keep progressing. The best time for them to get those credentials is right after high school.”

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