From left, the San Jacinto College culinary arts group who participated in the “Hops & Hogs” contest include Roberto Fabian, Christopher Smith, Alejandro Cabral, Roberto Valdez, Kenneth French, Tim Banks (program director), Ernest Becerra (program director), Pedro Dueñez, and Aryana Williams. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.
San Jacinto College culinary arts students won first place and second place in a competition sponsored by Professionals in Culinary Arts (PCA) that featured some of the best collegiate culinary programs in the region.
A group from the San Jacinto College North Campus competed in the event as a team, and a group from the San Jacinto College Central Campus also competed in the event as a separate team. Other colleges that entered teams in the competition include Alvin Community College, LeNotre Culinary Academy, and Art Institute of Houston.
The “Hops & Hogs” contest was held in October at St. Arnolds Brewery in Houston, and scholarships were recently awarded to qualifying students by PCA officers.
In the contest, student teams were given a specified time limit to prepare appetizers that incorporated pork and beer. A group of PCA officers served as judges and named the winners.
Participating in such a high-profile competition enhances classroom learning, according to Tim Banks, San Jacinto College North Campus culinary arts program director. “This type of event shines a light on San Jacinto College’s culinary programs,” Banks commented. “We operate a very contemporary program that prepares students to excel in the industry. Houston’s food community is vibrant and diverse and its great to have our program highlighted with events like Hogs and Hops.”
Competing in the event was challenging and rewarding for culinary arts student Julio Moreno. “I had to think outside the box, try new things, and work within strict limits, which made me stretch,” Moreno said. “It was a challenge to come up with something unexpected, and yet something that would stand out and something that diners would remember.”
Moreno works as a chef for Tout Suite Café and will earn culinary and pastry arts degrees from San Jacinto College in May. After graduation, he will continue to work at Tout Suite, and plans to launch a pop-up restaurant venture on the side.
San Jacinto College offers culinary and pastry arts classes and degree plans at the Central and North campuses. To learn more, please visit sanjac.edu/career/culinaryrestaurant-management.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.