Manatee Technical College held its first white-coat pinning ceremony Tuesday for 30 culinary arts and baking and pastry graduates in Cantrell Hall.
Cesar Lugo, culinary arts graduate, told fellow graduates he came to the program because he wanted to express himself through cooking.
“I was already in the industry and thought I knew it all before I got here, but I learned a lot not only from the instructors, but from my classmates,” Lugo said.
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He encouraged fellow graduates to keep learning “because cooking never stops changing” and to create new dishes. Lugo ended his speech with: “Cook on, my friends, because cooking is life!”
Kristina Liskiewics, baking and pastry arts graduate, said, “We do this because we love it — it’s magical.”
She was grateful to her instructor Matt Schole because “he enabled us to do some elaborate baking.”
She ended her speech with a twist on a familiar saying: “Let’s take life’s lemons and make lemon merengue pie!”
Schole and culinary arts instructors Jamie Gregorich and Bret Hagelberg told the audience of family and friends something special about each graduate as they called them up to the stage for the pinning.
Sous chef Theresa Carter and culinary liaison William Delaney pinned the graduates.
Also in line to shake their hands were culinary instructor Rovshan Avila, career counselor Kirsten Lawlor, assistant director Valerie Viands and director Doug Wagner.
Gregorich, lead instructor, closed the ceremony by sharing who chefs are and what makes them tick.
“We are artists who express ourselves on a plate, who create things for customers we may never meet. We find pure joy in serving the public.”
She also spoke encouraging words to the graduates for times when things will get tough.
“Remember, you are only as strong as the brothers and sisters in white standing next to you.”
The Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts programs are career certificate programs at MTC. The program is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the American Culinary Federation Foundation.