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Hospitality And Culinary Arts Student Society Joins Recognized Student Organizations



Hospitality And Culinary Arts Student Society Joins Recognized Student Organizations

April 4, 2003 - The Hospitality and Culinary Arts Student Society (HCASS) was formed in September 2002 by Karen Musa, director of the hotel/restaurant management and culinary arts program, and program professor Jennifer Carlin. Though only in existence a short time, the society has already had a very busy calendar. This newly recognized student group held its first elections in November 2002, at which time Richard Wilson was named president, Carol Waller was named vice president, Catherine Loveless was named treasurer, and Kristi Chapman was named secretary.

In both fall and spring, HCASS participated in two of Student Life's ice cream socials, "Get the Scoop on Student Groups," designed to introduce students to on-campus organizations.

In October, HCASS participated in La Toque, a celebrity chef event benefiting the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater North Texas. Students prepared and served gruyere cheese puffs, marinated pork loins with tomato/apple chutney on crostini, pork and dried cherry empanadas with sweet pepper pesto, and tiny dessert pastries.

In February, HCASS held a meeting at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson where, for a nice change of pace, instead of being the servers, they were served. Executive Chef Peter Genera, who is an advisor to the hotel/restaurant management and culinary arts program, prepared a main course of beef tenderloin served on half-moon grilled polenta with vegetables and a selection of mushrooms, topped with black truffle shavings and a merlot/mushroom reduction.

Richard Wilson, president of the society, is also a banquet chef at the Dallas Country Club. As one of the society's many working members, he is frank about his reasons for wanting to join the newly formed group.

"Honestly, it looks good on a resume. That's the first thing I thought about. And I enjoy being in the loop, knowing about what's going on around campus. I also enjoy getting involved in all of the charity events, the chili cook-off, the bake sales, etc. Since this is my last semester at CCCCD, I was eager to get more involved."

The group is just as interested in serving a community as it is in preparing and enjoying good food.

HCASS follows in long tradition of hotel/restaurant management and culinary arts students who have given their time and talents to the community. Students in the program have brought smiles to taste buds around the county and raised thousands of dollars in the process.

Students have made homemade holiday desserts including chocolate chip cookies and pecan pies to benefit the children's Advocacy Center in Plano; baked and decorated 400 pumpkin-shaped cookies for homebound residents to benefit Meals on Wheels; prepared mystery baskets containing seafood and beef to benefit the North Collin County Habitat for Humanity; and contributed dishes to the NBC Health Fair and the Epilepsy Foundation dinner.

On Valentine's Day, HCASS held a bake sale in the SCC atrium. The sale of cookies, cakes, brownies and pies was used to raise money so that the society could continue their charity endeavors. The Valentine's Day bake sale, and its accompanying "dinner in a bag," raised more than $1,200 for the group's philanthropic efforts.

It's a lot of hard work, but president Wilson says that they also have a lot of fun. "I have had a good time working with the other officers in the society. We have all bonded, especially this semester. And I have had a really productive time working with Karen Musa, our director. She has been a great mentor to me throughout the semester."

Members of HCASS, including top officers, come from different backgrounds: Kristine Chapman worked at an art gallery, Catherine Loveless comes from the banking industry, Carol Waller from the communications field, and Richard Wilson is a working chef.

His goals for the group are as diverse as its membership.

"I really hope that this club continues to grow, and I would like to see the culinary arts program get more notice at the school. I would like to see our program be more competitive with others in the area. And I would like us to do more for the community."

Other members, like Sheila Kao, just received a scholarship from the CCCCD Foundation, Inc., thanks to its annual Monopoly® fundraiser. Wendy White is working in the medical profession while studying culinary arts.

Carol Waller, vice president of HCASS, was formerly a telecommunications network strategist; she has six network design patents to her name. She is also a part-time student assistant in the hotel/restaurant management and culinary arts program and a vocal proponent of food appreciation, so it can be excused that she sometimes divides the world into connoisseurs and non-connoisseurs, or as she calls them, "foodies and non-foodies."

According to Waller, foodies are those who expect a little more on their plates than just fast food, and non-foodies are "people like Joe America, who eat at local fast-food establishments and are happy with that," she said.

"I do think there are people who do expect more than fast food," she said. "But hey, Mickey D's has gotten me through many a mid-term."

Upcoming events for students of the culinary arts program and HCASS include: a monthly group meeting held at 3 p.m. on March 23 at the SCC Fishbowl, with guest speaker Moses Qidwai of Radisson Hotels and Suites; "Taste of Collin County" on April 7; a meeting of the Texas Chef's Association, Dallas Chapter, at "The Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival" on May 9 - 11.

Students interested in joining the group are welcome to attend. It is finger-licking good fun, promises society president Richard Wilson, but it may just as easily cause calloused fingers.

"If anybody wants to join HCASS, we would be glad to have you," said Wilson." If you really have a love for food, and you don't mind working hard, then it might be for you. You have to have a heart for it, but if you do it is a great field to get into. It's very creative and satisfying work."

For more information, contact Karen Musa, director of the hotel/restaurant management and culinary arts program at 972-377-1672.