SGTC chef program brings new opportunities for students

Video from WALB
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:49 PM EDT
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Students at South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) got a unique learning experience through the Culinary Arts Program.

The chef program allows them to fill that void in the Hospitality industry while also getting them work-ready.

Some students are amazed at how hands-on the experience is.

Symone Stevens is a student in the culinary arts program.
Symone Stevens is a student in the culinary arts program.(Source: WALB)

“He let me do something that I wasn’t comfortable doing in class and that was handling meat like carving it straight off the bone and putting it on somebody’s plate,” said Symone Stevens, a student of the Culinary Arts Program. “And to get that experience, it got me out of my comfort zone because now I’m ready (and) eager to do whatever in the kitchen.”

The hospitality industry wants students to have life skills coming in and to be coachable.

Chef Ricky Watzlowick is one of the instructors for the Culinary Arts Program.
Chef Ricky Watzlowick is one of the instructors for the Culinary Arts Program.(Source: WALB)

“They want students that can read a recipe to increase or decrease and customer service is really a big issue. They want to be able to speak to the customer and the customer really feels sincere about it,” said Chef Ricky Watzlowick, the Culinary Arts Program director. “And with that, just learning how to provide the safe food. Food might look good, but it’s got to be safe to eat.”

Stevens said her future goal is to have her own food truck called “Symone’s Way”.

“I will say that don’t let your fear stop you from accomplishing what you don’t know (and) what you can accomplish. When I came in, I had all these doubts in college,” she said. “When you come in you should have these doubts, you should have these worries but you should let that fuel you into being able to get through this Technical College because they give you all the tools that you will need to succeed.”

Students who complete the program will earn four certificates, and their associate’s degree.

By going through this program owners and business people don’t have to spend time training them because these students come in already having those skills.