A donor reception thanking the community for their help with building the new culinary education building was put on by the American River College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management department Thursday.
The reception began with speeches from ARC President Thomas Greene, Los Rios trustee Debra Ortiz, and Culinary Arts department chair Brian Knirk, among others.
“I am proud of the continued growth in our restaurant dining services and you could not find a better facility than ARC. Many of our students have moved on to working in such establishments as Ella, The Waterboy and not to mention the esteemed San Francisco American Cuisine Restaurant Gary Danko,” said Knirk.
Almost a dozen wine vendors from Amador Vintner’s Association displayed their wines while donors tested them. The culinary students provided guests with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments made in the Oak Cafe while ARC’s music program introduced a jazz ensemble.
Donors were invited to tour the entire new facility and meet the alumni.
Alumni were present at the opening to speak about what they currently do for a living after their training in the ARC culinary department. Some are business owners of their own catering services and work in prestigious restaurants or bakeries.
Jane Anderson, the Executive Pastry Chef at Ella, a local Dining Room and Bar, attended ARC when the new building was just an idea. After being an owner of her own restaurant in Hawaii and working several other places, Anderson attained a position at Ella.
Becky Kempter, pastry chef at The WaterBoy, a Sacramento Restaurant on Capitol Avenue, said she would not be where she is at now if it weren’t for the faculty and students of the ARC Culinary Department.
“The restaurant business is a small community and everyone knows each other. As to date there are four alumni working at The WaterBoy. We help each other and we are like family,” said Kempter.
Bronwyn Sebesta, head cake decorator for Nugget Markets, initially enrolled at ARC as a Political Science major but soon discovered her real passion was for the culinary arts. She also reiterated that the culinary program helped her.
“The culinary faculty members helped me 100 percent in my career…They influenced me with their knowledge of herbs, fresh produce and flavor combinations,” said Michell Tabarango, owner of Tabarango Catering, which specializes in ethnic foods like Filipino, Hawaiian, and Mexican.
Tabarango offered advice to aspiring culinary students by telling them to volunteer for everything because she feels that there is nothing like hands on experience and the ARC culinary faculty is always available for support.