By Javier Cabrera | News Editor
Chef David Avalos, an instructor at the Riverside City College Culinary Academy, was named the 2012 Chef of the Year for the Southern California Inland Empire Chefs and Cooks Association in January.
The award is the first for a chef at the RCC Culinary Academy. Chef Avalos said the award is big for the program, and the college.
“It is a good image for the college,” he said. “The students look at it as being proud of it as well, because they can say ‘this is the quality level of instructors we are getting at the RCC Culinary Academy.’”
The culinary program was taken over by the college in 2004, after it was ran by the Regional Occupational Program through the Economic Development Agency.
Chef Avalos said he was one of the first instructors to be hired by the college when it took over the culinary academy in 2004.
He said the program is still operated under the same structure as it did before RCC took over, where the incoming students start at the dining room, and learn how to handle the guests. They then move to the kitchen and learn the basics of cooking in their second semester. In their final semester, the students cook the lunches for the guests.
Chef Avalos said the RCC Culinary Academy does not look at awards as something it needs to strive to get.
“We just enjoy doing our job, for me, it is a great privilege,” he said. “I am here to educate the students and give them the good skill level they need before they go out to the industry.”
Luis Solis / Photo Editor
Roxanne Polanco, a student of Chef Avalos, said the class was thrilled when they heard he won Chef of the Year from the local chapter.
She said the class was bummed they were not present when he was handed the award, but they were excited for the good news.
“We were so excited,” Polanco said. “We were very thankful we actually get to have him for our junior semester.”
She said Chef Avalos is thorough as an instructor and she appreciate how he cares for his students.
“He is very concrete, he wants to teach you the right way,” Polanco said. “He will not stop until he teaches you the right way.”