A chef’s coat wears its work —each stain is earned.
On Sept. 23 more than 100 students at Miami Dade College’s Miami Culinary Institute officially received their coats at the college’s Inaugural Chef Coat Ceremony.
“The coat to me was like a coming of age,” said Karina Gonzalez who received her chef’s coat during the ceremony. “It symbolizes the beginning of my career, something I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Students receiving their coats during the event had already completed their preliminary lecture courses. They began hands-on learning Sept. 26.
The ceremony marked the start of an intense, but educationally enriching journey for the prospective chefs, said Chef John Richards, the MCI Director.
“It really takes a lot of hard work and support,” Richards said. “They are going to emerge in a sustainable culinary education and have a true world-class experience in food culture innovation.”
Gonzalez is like many of her classmates. Her passion for the culinary field started young.
She is recent graduate of Robert Morgan Educational Center’s culinary program. That program allowed her to gain some stains on her wardrobe.
“As a high school student I won a tomato contest that allowed me to be on a Canadian food network with famous chef Lynn Crawford,” Gonzalez said. “My winning preparation was a tomato, grilled chicken and basil dish.”
In the contest, students had to prepare nutritiously balanced dishes with tomatoes from the contest sponsor, Teena’s Pride, a 500 acre vegetable farm located in Homestead.
Gonzalez, is excited to get the fire started at the MCI.
“This college, it’s definitely not your regular school,” Gonzalez said. “It’s different.”
Collen Engle, chef instructor at MCI, believes the ceremony brought students, their families, and the community closer.
“This is a very uniting ceremony,” Engle said. “It makes it much more special for the families to see what we have arranged and how truly important it is to the students.”
Staff Writer Kirsten Rincon contributed to this report.
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