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CFCC’s Culinary Arts Program Is Basted in Expertise


The sounds of whisks and sizzling pans greet you as you enter CFCC’s culinary arts classroom. The aroma of sautéed vegetables and fresh seasonings tickles your nose. Class notes and ingredients are neatly arranged at each student’s station. The future chefs focus on creating their most recent culinary masterpiece under the watchful guidance of CFCC Culinary Arts Program Director Jaime Chadwick.

Jaime Chadwick

Chadwick’s students benefit from the wealth of knowledge she brings to the classroom. Her career spans over 30 years in the foodservice industry. She earned two associate degrees in applied science from CFCC. The first was in Culinary Arts in 2004, and the second was in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 2005. In 2006, she hosted “ Cooking on the Cape ,” a local cooking program sponsored by CFCC. Chadwick has taught culinary and baking arts at CFCC since 2011, and she is now the Director of the Baking and Pastry Arts and Culinary Arts programs. Outside of CFCC, Chadwick was a corporate trainer for a large franchise restaurant, a chef at a local restaurant, and owned a catering business, A Southern Thyme.

Tempting Your Taste Buds

A highlight of the Culinary Arts program is the frequent meals served at Our Place , which offers hands-on training for students. Our Place is Cape Fear Community College’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts student dining room. The restaurant is open to the public for weekly lunches or dinners each semester. Both culinary and hospitality students work together to provide an authentic dining experience. Hosting and serving skills are honed by the hospitality students while prepping and cooking are mastered in the kitchen by the culinary students.

The impressive meals include classical cuisine in the fall. Guests enjoy a four-course dinner featuring gourmet entrees, appetizers, and desserts. In the spring, lunch focuses on global cuisine. The 2022 spring semester will take diners’ palettes to the Pacific Northwest, Spain, India, Italy, and Mexico.

Now You’re Cooking with Gas

cooking on gas stove
For other real-world experiences, Chadwick has arranged a partnership with the Wilson Center beginning in the 2022 spring semester. CFCC’s Culinary Arts students will cater the Wilson Center’s VIP events. Students will also have an opportunity to interact with Wilson Center’s featured artists while serving memorable meals.

The Wilson Center is opening its concessions area to the Baking and Pastry Arts students. Students will be selling their confections to audiences throughout the semester. “Students will not only develop their baking skill sets,” said Chadwick. “They will also learn promotion and marketing of their goods as well as CFCC’s programs.”

Season to Taste

Chadwick’s priorities include making sure her students are ready to enter the workforce. Industry opportunities are abundant. “Right now, I am inundated weekly with employers seeking skilled workers,” said Chadwick. “Jobs are anywhere from high-end fine dining to quick service management. Many restaurants are starting to reopen fully, and these establishments are seeking staff.”

job posting

Career choices also expand beyond the kitchen. “There are so many different avenues and branches of foodservice. Students are not limited to cooking,” Chadwick explains. “They can work in food sales for a distributor or in the beverage industry. There are positions in research and development for franchises. If they want a slower pace, students can choose a dining facility in a hospital or assisted living.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chefs and head cooks are two of the fastest-growing occupations between 2020 and 2030. Employment is expected to increase by 25% during this decade. As of May 2020, the median salary for chefs and head cooks was $53,380.00. Foodservice Managers have an expected growth of 15% with a median wage of $56,590.00.

Students shouldn’t let tuition costs prevent them from enrolling. In addition to affordable tuition, Chadwick says many scholarship opportunities are available to culinary students. She constantly reminds her students to apply. It’s an easy process – students only have to complete one application to be considered for all available scholarships for which they may be eligible.

If you’re considering a career in Culinary Arts, the industry is ready for you. Scholarships are available, and employers are in need of skilled and qualified staff.

Learn more about about CFCC’s Culinary Arts program and more at CFCC Programs of Study .

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