MOHAVE COUNTY – Food is essential in our everyday lives. It provides nutrients to keep us strong and healthy. Food is delicious and gives us an opportunity to connect with people. At Mohave Community College, the Culinary Arts program provides students the opportunity to learn about the art of food and the service industry.
“Culinary is an art you can take the rules and break the rules to create something unique,” said Chef Alana Johnson, Culinary Arts faculty. “Culinary is an adventure it’s a way to express yourself with food where in a lot of other professions you don’t have that opportunity.”
Johnson has 20 years of experience in the industry. At MCC she has been the resident chef for nearly three years.
Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts Management in two years and go straight into a career field. The program offers certificates in Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts, Food Management and Food Preparation.
Johnson said students can earn stackable certificates that progressively build on skills and experience to earn an associate’s degree.
Students can take several specialized classes like Fundamentals of Butchery, Preservation Techniques, Indigenous Fusion and much more.
“I wanted to find a way to streamline the program so I have one class at a time for five weeks and that’s the only class students concentrate on for five weeks, so students are building their skills as they go,” Johnson said.
In the culinary program, students have the opportunity for an externship where they can get hands-on experience at local businesses and restaurants. Johnson said taking this class could quickly lead them into the industry because students are getting real-life experience while earning their degree.
Robert Barras, an MCC culinary student, is on his last semester of the program. He enjoys everything about the culinary industry and is planning to do it for the rest of his life.
“I recommend this program because there’s a lot to learn and it’s a fantastic experience where you can meet people and build relationships,” he said.
Barras added after earning his associates he hopes to open his own Mexican or Chinese restaurant.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, head cooks and chefs on average can earn up to $54,840 annually in Arizona.
Johnson has worked for famous chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Todd English, Michael Mina and Guy Fieri. She has also worked at the World Trade Center in Seattle, Ritz Carlton and MGM in Las Vegas.
Earning a culinary degree means students can work in corporate office dining rooms, restaurants, resorts, restaurant manager, food services and much more.
For more information about MCC’s Culinary Arts Program, visit Mohave.edu/Culinary or reach out to Alana Johnson at AlJohnson@Mohave.edu.
The college is currently enrolling students in classes Spring classes, which begin January 18, and Summer classes, which begin May 24. Those interested in becoming a student can start by filling out the free application at Apply.Mohave.edu, or head to the nearest campus for assistance. The college toll free phone number is 866-MOHAVECC (866-664-2832).