Thursday, July 30, 2009

Alumni Success Story: Gerardo Granados

Bachelor of Science – Culinary Management, Summer 2008
Lead Cook - Casa De Las Campanas

Catering for high profile events like the Grammy’s, Emmy’s and Oscar’s is a dream job for any aspiring chef and Gerardo Granados was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so a year before he graduated from The Art Institute of California – Orange County.

Before working star-studded events at Wolfgang Puck Catering, Gerardo began his culinary education at a community college but wasn’t sure it was the right career for him until one of his instructors inspired him to further his education.

“At The Art Institute of California – Orange County, I learned that food can be turned into a masterpiece,” Gerardo said. “The Culinary Management program taught me the fundamentals of cooking, how to multitask and how to work with others.”

To put his culinary skills to the test, Gerardo took jobs that would reinforce the techniques he was learning in class. During his first year of school, he worked in a Dana Point retirement home that provided its residents fine dining. Gerardo worked his way up from bus boy to lead cook in a year and a half.

“During my second year of school, I wanted to test my cooking skills so I headed to Hollywood and worked with Wolfgang Puck Catering,” Gerardo said. “Cooking for celebrities was a great experience but I still wanted to push myself more.”

His next challenge took him to a retirement home in San Diego where Gerardo’s goal was to turn around their kitchen. He is currently working with the cooks to teach them unfamiliar techniques and how to combine flavors and put “more love” into what they do.

“This is not my final destination in my career but just one of my culinary cooking stops,” Gerardo said.

A typical day for Gerardo includes checking in with the sous chef to confirm the menu and preparing both kitchens with all necessary ingredients. Before dinner is served, he explains the entrĂ©e’s ingredients to the wait staff. The shift ends when the kitchen is as clean as it was before dinner service.

“I don’t consider cooking a job because it is something I love to do,” Gerardo said, “but I always keep my eyes open and try to learn from others.”

Keep an eye out for regular updates on the success of our graduates. If you'd like to be featured on the blog or school Web site, contact Career Services.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

50 Forks Summer Menu

50 Forks is open for lunch Monday - Wednesday from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. through September 23. Click on the title above to see a version of the menu you can print or save.

High School Students Roll Up their Sleeves for the Red Cross at Summer Studio 2009

Nearly 100 high school students invaded The Art Institute of California – Orange County from June 23- June 26 to see if they had what it takes to be a fashion, media, design or culinary student.

The Summer Studio program gives teens a taste of what it is like to be a student at The Art Institute of California – Orange County. This year, Summer Studio partnered with the American Red Cross to bring a real world element to the projects the students completed throughout the week.

“The Red Cross is always looking for new ways to reach out to younger blood donors,” said Cynthia Lujan, Communications Specialist for the Red Cross. “We were impressed with the level of creativity the students demonstrated and the amount of work they were able to complete in such a short amount of time.”

Students were able to choose from one of 10 workshops according to their creative interests. In just four days, the students were able to produce the following:

Advertising: Developed an ad campaign complete with posters, billboards and public service announcements.

Culinary Arts: Catered the final presentation event by making a meal from scratch for over 300 guests.

Digital Photography: Captured a week’s worth of events for the Summer Studio 2009 DVD.

Fashion Design/Fashion Marketing & Management: Designed t-shirts that made giving blood a fashion statement

Game Art & Design/Visual & Game Programming: Created a simple video game about the importance of donating blood.

Graphic Design: Produced the artwork for the DVD cover.

Industrial Design: Proposed concepts for two different donation modules – special chairs that would allow people to be entertained as they donated blood.

Interior Design: Planned the space for a mobile disaster unit that could house a family that lost their home.

Media Arts & Animation/Visual Effects & Motion Graphics: Invented a Red Cross character and created a simple animation.

Web Design & Interactive Media: Helped author the Summer Studio 2009 DVD.

Check back here for information on next year’s Summer Studio.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cooking for a Cause

Great Taste magazine has partnered with local chefs to help raise funds for organizations that help feed the hungry as well as culinary programs at Newport Harbor High School and The Art Institute of California - Orange County. The next cooking class is scheduled for July 22 and space is still available. For complete details, visit the Great Taste site.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mary Ann Gale Featured in California Apparel News Article

Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing & Management Academic Director Mary Ann Gale was recently quoted in a California Apparel News article discussing how the economy is effecting fashion programs in schools and what that could mean for the apparel industry down the line. Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Faculty Member's Work Makes Front Cover

Full-time faculty member Kevin McCarty's photography was featured on the latest issue of Visual Commnication Quarterly. Visual Communication Quarterly (VCQ) is an international, peer-reviewed journal of theory, research, practical criticism, and creative work in all areas of visual communication published by Routledge. Their goal is to promote an inclusive, broad discussion of all things visual, while also encouraging synthesis and theory building across our fascinating field of study.

Go to to learn more about the publication.