Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of South Alabama have teamed up for their fourth annual Hospitality and Tourism Workforce Summit and it’s proving to be a winning combination.
Chef’s Danie Rodriguez and Jackie Seavy are always cooking up something. On this day, it’s a recipe much like the one that landed Chef Jackie the top prize in CNBC’s World Food Championship. “A cornbread waffle with seared and smoked duck breast with a kumquat tomato onion jam and goat cheese butter.”
Chef Danie’s culinary students at Gulfport High lent a helping hand in the preparation and presentation of this delightful dish. Chef Jackie said, “They’re eager to learn and have done really well.”
Chef Danie said, “It’s really important for them to get this training, to build our tourism industry here on the Coast, to provide employees for all our casinos and restaurants, but not only that, but for our kids. It’s an employable skill they can take anywhere.”
This was just one tasty selection on the menu of Wednesday’s summit as the Gulf Coast’s leading chefs and other industry leaders equipped young people and local high school students with training, skills, and knowledge that reach beyond the classroom and kitchen. Just ask Gulfport High senior Jasmyne Davis. “Definitely that nothing’s handed to you. You have to work for everything.”
This is the first year the summit has been held outside of Alabama and we’re told it’s been a winning combination, giving these young chefs hands on training that’s invaluable. Keynote Speaker Ben Koff said, “It’s wonderful to have these mentoring opportunities with the hospitality workers and have that integration in our community, not just from our casino but from all casinos in the area. It really is an effort that’s coming from both the industry and the educators.”
As the summit wraps, a picture perfect moment, and quite possibly a look at the next top chefs, and hospitality and tourism leaders of tomorrow.