American River College’s Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management program officially opened the new Culinary Arts building by holding a ribbon cutting and building dedication ceremony, and offered attendees a welcome tour Friday.
The building, which has been in use since the beginning of last semester, includes new lecture halls, labs, storage rooms, the Oak Cafe kitchen and dining room, and a bakery.
In the hallway, a number of paintings from the collection of Gary and Donna Pruner hang on the walls.
Brian Knirk, culinary program director, said in his speech that the new facility offers “dynamic opportunities” for students.
The ceremony, which was open to all students and invited attendees, included refreshments, a ribbon cutting, and a welcome tour. ARC President Thomas Greene, Los Rios trustee Pamela Haynes, Los Rios Chancellor Brian King, ARC student Ellen Hosein and Knirk all spoke as part of the ceremony.
At the closing of the ceremony, all five speakers cut the ribbon as champagne bottles were popped simultaneously. Waiters served cider instead of champagne because serving alcohol on campus is not allowed.
Approximately 100 people were present at the event, including students, speakers and members of local media.
During her speech, Hosein mentioned that some of her fellow students have already begun their careers in the culinary field.
“Thank you for giving us this opportunity, thank you for supporting us and giving us the expansion that will enable us to grow,” Hosein said.
Rick Hodgkins, an ARC student working on his baking certificate, said that he came to the ceremony to see if celebrity chef and ARC alumni Guy Fieri would be in attendance.
Hodgkins also came because he had been waiting for the building to open and to see if he could meet David Viar, the former college president.
Viar was one of the first people Hodgkins met when he first came to ARC seven years ago, and remembers Viar as someone with an encouraging attitude.
If given a chance, Hodgkins said he’d describe the culinary program on campus as “better than the Le Cordon Bleu.”
“We are just as good, but we don’t cost as much,” he said.
Hodgkins also said he likes the ARC program better because one doesn’t need a GED or high school diploma to take classes at ARC,
Hodgkins added that he also loves the Oak Cafe and that the cafe is more than double the size now than it was before.