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San Jacinto College
News Release
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Culinary contest offers high school students a taste of college life    

HOUSTON – Visiting high school students showcased their culinary arts skills while also earning college scholarships at a recent iron chef style competition sponsored by San Jacinto College (SJC).

The contest, held at the North Campus, actually featured two separate competitions. In the three-course meal competition, teams were assigned to debone a chicken in an appetizer and an entrée, and prepare a salad. The bonus competition was called the Cupcake War, in which teams were assigned to make two different batches of 50 cupcakes, with each batch being a different style of cupcake.

Each team consisted of current SJC students, and visiting students from Goose Creek ISD (GCISD) schools. The student teams worked under the direction of SJC culinary arts instructors.

The team of SJC students Jan Vincent Manuel, Alicia Marin de Perdomo, and Sonora Vasquez (GCISD) won first place in the three-course meal competition. The team of SJC students Rebecca Eddings, Jessica Flores, and Laura Gesford (GCISD) won first place in the Cupcake War competition. Each first-place student received a $500 college scholarship.

Steve Rudd, North Campus director of culinary services, said the competition is fun and challenging, but the main reason for hosting the event is to encourage high school students to attend college.

“It’s a win-win for both the current SJC students, and for potential students because they collaborate with each other and can discuss San Jac, culinary arts, pastry chef, the transition from high school to college, and what it is like to be a part of an American Culinary Federation accredited culinary program,” Rudd commented. “Events like this that involve college and high school students collaborating build leadership skills, communication skills, teamwork, time management, while helping San Jac turn today’s students into tomorrow’s chefs.”

According to Rudd, demand is high for qualified chefs who graduate from SJC’s culinary arts program. “The job placement rate for our graduates is approximately 95 percent,” he remarked. Culinary arts graduates can also expect to earn a good annual salary. According to the Texas Industry Profiles website, chefs can expect to earn a median annual salary of $38,938. An entry level worker can expect to earn $25,707 annually, while an experienced worker can expect to earn $52,825.
San Jacinto College offers a wide range of culinary arts degrees and course options at the North and Central campuses.

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. The College, an Achieving the Dream Leader College, is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in over 140 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. Our graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook at

Photo: San Jacinto College (SJC) culinary arts instructor Ewart Jones, left, and SJC student An-Thu Vuong collaborate on a recipe during a contest that was held at the North Campus. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.

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