A Recipe for Success
For Alexis Thomas, choosing where to study culinary arts was easy. She had already been attending Hennepin Technical College while she was a student at Edina High School as part of Minnesota’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Option that allows high school juniors and seniors to earn college credits that can satisfy high school graduation requirements. So when Thomas graduated from Edina High School in 2001, she headed right back to HTC’s Eden Prairie Campus to prepare for a culinary career.
“The chefs there at HTC are fantastic and they make it so much fun while they offer everything you need to succeed,” says Thomas. “You get hands-on training and really learn how to use the tools.” She liked the small class sizes and the individual attention that helped each student do their best. “You work every station in the kitchen. If you’re
making sandwiches one day, they make sure you move to something different the next day.”
She started her professional career at Woody’s Grill in Eden Prairie in 2002, spending four years there as she learned more about the restaurant business. Then a friend told her about a new restaurant that the Parasole group was opening in Edina: Salut Bar Americain (www.salutbaramericain.com) at 50th and France. Since joining Salut, a French-American restaurant billed as “the brasserie down the block,” she has worked in a variety of kitchen positions. She will be sous chef when Salut opens its location on Grand Avenue in St. Paul in 2008.
“This is a career when you have to work your way up,” says Thomas. “You don’t get to start as the top chef.” She credits her success along the way to the strong base of skills she developed at HTC. “I felt really well prepared when I got out in the field.”
She found that HTC taught the same skills and used the same textbooks found at private cooking schools, which charge much higher tuition. “HTC is much more affordable,” explains Thomas. “I recommend HTC all the time to people who are looking for culinary training that prepares them for a career.” She also shares some of her favorite memories with prospective students. “I loved the buffets,” she says, explaining that students would choose a country and a theme, then research the menu, choose decorations and prepare the food to complete the assignment. Thomas chose Mexico, and Mexican cuisine is still one of her favorites. As her knowledge grew, so did her confidence.
“I was a nervous baker,” recalls Thomas. “I hadn’t had that much experience, so I learned a lot in the bakery unit.” From baking bread and cinnamon rolls to making desserts that had to look just right for the glass display case, she found that being in the kitchen was the right place for her. “Presentation is very important to me,” says Thomas, “and I enjoy creating small appetizers and desserts that have a lot of detail.”
Thinking about her experience at HTC, Alexis Thomas says, “It was an awesome opportunity.” She has found that what she learned in the Culinary Arts program at HTC has helped her create her own recipe for success.
Last updated by admin : 2014-01-30 11:39:55