Culinary arts offers students inexpensive training

  Walk into the building marked RCC Culinary Academy on Spruce Street and you will enter a world of chefs in training, bustling around in white top hats. 

They’re busy not only preparing gourmet meals, but also serving them to patrons at a low cost. 

No comments

By Jackie Adams / Asst. Features Editor

By Jackie Adams / Asst. Features Editor

 Walk into the building marked RCC Culinary Academy on Spruce Street and you will enter a world of chefs in training, bustling around in white top hats. 

They’re busy not only preparing gourmet meals, but also serving them to patrons at a low cost. 

That’s because this culinary program, a branch of Riverside City College, doesn’t just teach students how to cook, it teaches them every aspect of the food industry by letting them operate and manage their own restaurant. 

From washing the dishes in the back to preparing and serving the food, these students take care of everything.

Breakfast is served every day from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a daily changing menu. They offer a variety of foods and have very competitive prices.

“This is a lab, it’s not for profit,” said chef Bobby Moghaddam, head of the culinary institute. “Our goal is not to be a money making venture, it’s to get students the most experience we can.” 

Since Moghaddam, the almost cartoonish father figure with a stern hand but a soft heart, took over in 2003, the academy has received numerous awards. 

Several are on display as you enter the restaurant, including the most recent; the prestigious National Achievement of Excellence Awards from the American Culinary Federation.             

That explains why every semester there are up to 200 people who try to get into the mere 30 available student slots. 

In past years it was on a first come first serve basis, “But when people started camping out in the parking lot, it became a safety hazard,” Moghaddam said. 

Now students are selected randomly in a computer draw, and the lucky few that make it can look forward to an intense year of studying and training. 

“Most people are absolutely not prepared for the pressures of the program,” he said. “I always tell them, this is not a cooking school, but a culinary academy. It’s just as hard as any other course. There’s lots of reading, weekly projects and tests.”

But the benefits for most students well outweigh the costs. 

For one, they get to be a part of an award winning school for only a fraction of the cost. 

The nearby San Bernardino Art Institute culinary program is over $40,000 a year to attend and the Cordon Bleu program in Pasadena is even more expensive than that, while RCC’s is only $2,000 total. 

And the job opportunities are endless, past students have gone on to work for Club 33 in Disneyland, on cruise lines and one is now the head chef at the Victoria Country Club. 

“We love our students like family, we try our best to make them successful,” Moghaddam said. 

Students who are not in the program are encouraged to go and try some of the food served Tuesday through Friday. 

You could also do a taste test at their annual fundraiser, California Autumn Nights, on Oct. 23. 

Tickets are $40 and include a six course meal served in a posh setting. 

They can be bought at the restaurant or by calling 951-EAT-FOOD prior to the event. 

If you want to take a peek at whether or not the classes are for you, check out their how-to videos on YouTube by searching Flavor of Riverside.

close

Stay informed with The Morning View.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox Sundays after each issue.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

close

Stay informed with The Morning View.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox Sundays after each issue.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.