DECATUR — Richland Community College’s Culinary Arts Institute was in the spotlight during the college’s monthly Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, as Chef Brian Tucker, institute director, not only discussed a trip to China that several culinary arts students took over the summer but also highlighted some exciting upcoming developments.
“Ten culinary arts students went to China with myself and Leslie DeVore in June, and it was an amazing experience,” Tucker said before showing a video that captured some of the students’ thoughts about the trip. “It was a great way to teach them about food on a more global scale and by partnering with Yew Chung Community College, our students not only experienced a new culture, but so did the Yew Chung students.”
From working in restaurant and hotel kitchens in China to learning how to make authentic Chinese dishes, the students reported that the trip not only expanded their culinary knowledge and experience but made them more well-rounded.
“All the students had a phenomenal time, and so did I,” Tucker said.
Tucker also noted that he anticipated more culinary arts trips in the future due to a global articulation agreement between Richland, Yew Chung and the University of Illinois that should be signed next month.
“The agreement will allow Yew Chung students to spend one year at Yew Chung and one year at Richland, and from there, they will be able to transfer to the University of Illinois’ College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences,” he said, noting that eventually, Richland students may be able to spend one year at Yew Chung Community College, too.
The teleconferenced articulation agreement signing is scheduled for Nov. 20.
Additionally, Tucker mentioned that the college’s second annual Kitchen Warriors cooking competition will take place Nov. 7.
Having received such positive reviews last year, Tucker said he is excited for the competition’s second year, which will again involve a live round in which two finalists cook head-to-head to earn the title of Kitchen Warrior.
“It was so great last year,” he said, noting that six local chefs are already committed to participating.
The competition will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7. Tickets cost $30 a person and can be ordered by calling the college at (217) 875-7211, ext. 740. Proceeds will benefit the culinary arts program.