Students call MCC’s Culinary Arts Institute a ‘game changer’
The doors are open, the coffee is brewing and Maria Lloyd is up to her elbows in oatmeal
cookie dough. The Mott Community College (MCC) Culinary Arts Institute is officially
open and the students and faculty couldn’t be happier.
“This is great!” said Lloyd, “all my classes and work are centralized in one place. Today I work until 1:30 and then I can just go upstairs for my afternoon class,” she added. Lloyd, a second year Baking and Pastry Arts student from Flint, is currently employed at the College’s second Coffee Beanery franchise, located on the first floor of the Culinary Arts Institute (the original college-run Coffee Beanery franchise is on the main campus).
“It really creates a sense of community when we, as students, get to work with the same people we are learning from,” Lloyd said. Zach Easterly echoed Lloyd’s feeling about a sense of community. “The MCC Culinary Arts program is not only a community of people supporting one another,” he said, “It also the community coming together to support us.” Easterly, a second year student from Clio, referred to community partnerships and partnerships within the various department at the College. “These collaborations really enhance and enrich the learning experience.”
Easterly is also employed at the Beanery, but unlike Lloyd, his major is Culinary Arts. So, while she is prepping dough for tomorrow’s fresh-baked giant cookies and creating tasty treats like bumpy cake and mango muffins, he is working the “front of house” making coffee drinks, and soon, food-to-order.
“Food to order will be a new experience for me,” he said, “we will be adding pizzas, paninis and the ‘famous’ Applewood turkey and white bean chili to the Beanery offerings,” he said. “We haven’t done food-to-order before in our Beanery locations.”
Also new will be the experience of opening Applewood at Second & Saginaw in a public space. Until the Culinary Arts Institute relocated downtown, culinary program students honed their skills on campus with patronage from the College community. “Now its going to be a REAL real-world experience,” said Easterly of the expected foot traffic from downtown office workers and UM-Flint.
The icing on the (bumpy) cake is the space. Both Lloyd and Easterly said the space at the new Culinary Arts Institute is a game changer. “It is AWESOME to have all this space,” said Lloyd, gesturing around the first floor Baking and Pastry Arts kitchen. “Baking and Pastry arts is very hands-on, you need room for your dough and your equipment. The old space on campus was a smidge claustrophobic,” she admitted.
“There is more room in general,” said Easterly. The larger facility enables MCC to increase the Culinary Arts program capacity to approximately 400 students, doubling former capacity.
In addition to more room and dedicated spaces for specific classes such as meat fabrication and confections, the learning spaces have state-of-the-art technology and new equipment.
“The new technology makes the learning experience more interactive,” said Easterly. “The Chefs can do live demonstrations on the screens and we can put the lesson into practice while they are still demonstrating, rather than wait until they demonstrate and then try to remember what they showed us,” he said, referring to the audio-visual equipment that includes remote-controlled cameras projecting the action onto multiple TV screens located at student work stations.
“This technology allows us to cover more material in a class period,” said Chef Matthew Cooper, Culinary Arts program Coordinator. “We can demonstrate something once, and then guide students individually or repeat a demonstration quickly if needed.”
In total, the 36,000 square-foot Culinary Arts Institute features smart technology throughout two culinary arts teaching kitchens and two bakery and pastry arts teaching kitchens, a meat fabrication teaching laboratory, a garde mangér classroom, a dining space connected to the Coffee Beanery and a large, dividable meeting space.
And while the technology takes learning to new heights in the kitchens, the Culinary Arts program at MCC is looking to take students out of the classroom – way out – by opening up new opportunities for students to study abroad. “We are excited to offer a new scholarship program that will enable students to study internationally,” said Stephen Shubert, Dean of Business.
The scholarship, funded by the Hagerman Foundation, will be used to cover tuition, fees, books and supplies, and the costs associated with students travelling abroad to gain firsthand experience with international cuisines, new styles of cooking, firsthand kitchen experience, and exposure to new cultures and languages.
With all of the new space, technology, and now study abroad opportunities, Lloyd and Easterly are poised to take the Culinary world by storm after graduating. “That’s the plan,” said Lloyd casually scraping cookie dough off a beater the size of a dinner plate, “that is definitely the plan.”
MCC offers Associate of Applied Science degrees in Baking and Pastry Arts, Culinary Arts, and Food Services Management. Students enrolled in the MCC Culinary Arts program receive intensive training in all phases of the restaurant business, giving them the expertise necessary to become a professional in any area of the foodservice industry.
Mott Community College is committed to excellence in education and offering services that cultivate student success and improve the overall quality of life in a multicultural community. With more than 100 academic and occupational degree programs, we help students prepare to achieve more in an ever-changing economy. Through university transfer agreements, high-demand associate's degree programs and one-year certification programs, we help ensure that all Mott students are ready to get more out of life.
As an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution, the College encourages diversity and provides equal opportunity in education, employment, all of its programs, and the use of its facilities. The College does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, gender, national origin, veteran’s status, age, disability unrelated to an individual’s ability to perform adequately, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law. Title IX Coordinator Contact Information: 1401 E. Court St., Prahl College Center (PCC-2030G), Flint, MI 48503, (810) 762-0024. Title II, ADA, Coordinator Contact Information: 1401 E. Court St., Curtice-Mott Complex (CM-1024), Flint, MI 48503, (810) 762-0373. Section 504 Coordinator Contact Information: 1401 E. Court St., Prahl College Center (PCC-1130), Flint, MI 48503, (810) 762-0191.
For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, please see the following link: https://www.mcc.edu/gainful_employ_disclosure/index.php