MCI and CIV Volunteer to Help the Foodbank

In Hampton Roads and Richmond, representatives of ECPI University are volunteering their time in support of the Foodbank. The

Culinary volunteers chop onions and peppers for lasagna.

Foodbank works to provide solutions to hunger and certain consequences of poverty in the community by promoting food recovery by means of acquiring and distributing food, clothing, and related products to those in crisis.

The Culinary Institute of Virginia has been involved since 2007 in the Hampton Roads area. Chef Patrick Kearney has been leading student volunteers to prepare meals as a part of the “Kids Café.” He speculates that in one year his team has prepared more than 72,000 meals. Ten to 15 culinary students volunteer once a month to prepare the donated food that varies on each occasion. “Students use the opportunity to gain experience, use skills and interact with other students and teachers,” said Chef Kearney. “I tell the students the best way to impact the community is to give their time.”

Culinary student, Matt Davis feels, “It is a good cause and great practice. It is also a great way to build a stronger bond with other students and teachers.” Students usually commit to four hours of volunteer time on each occasion; however, Chef Kearney once had to prepare 600 pounds of turkey at Thanksgiving which took the team more than eight hours.

Chef Kearney explains preparation activities to students.

Omar Gafford is the Director of Healthcare Administration with MCI in Richmond, Virginia. He wanted to provide an opportunity for staff and students to interact with each other in an environment outside of the school. Instructors launched the Foodbank initiative on April 15 in the community kitchen. The community kitchen is a full production kitchen where volunteers prepare and package over 3,500 meals for various child and senior programs. Students involved in MEDIC (Medical Students of ECPI University, Development, Involvement, Community organizations) will assist in the Meals on Wheels.

From left to right, front row: Stephanie White, Nijah Chinn-Gonsalves, Tresa Jordan, Diana Sams, and Monika Haskins. Back row: Thomas Holland, Omar Gafford, Michael Serrate and John Craig.


Students Head to China for ECPI’s Study Abroad Program

ECPI University’s study abroad program is in its eleventh year and to date has covered four of the six inhabitable continents. In March, a group of 22 including three chaperons enjoyed 13 days in China.

Study abroad programs are generally imagined in the traditional college setting where students spend a semester away. According to Dr. Glenn Corillo, faculty director of ECPI University’s program, only a third of colleges follow that format while the remaining two-thirds use the same model as ECPI University with two weeks abroad.

Students from ECPI University, Medical Careers Institute and the Culinary Institute of Virginia in Hampton Roads enrolled in Communication 205, Culture and Diversity. Students were in class for two weeks learning about the places and the culture they would visit, two weeks abroad, and then back to the class room for one week.

Study abroad student, Ricki Furlong, who is studying healthcare administration at MCI, ECPI University’s School of Health Science, had high praise for the class. “Dr. Corillo does a great job of getting the principles of the course across. I also think the subject of culture and diversity helped members of the class to grow emotionally. We learned from each other.”

The trip included visits to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Hong Kong with items on the itinerary that included:

•     A visit to the 2008 Olympic site
•     Exercise instruction from a Tai Chi master
•     A visit and climb of the Great Wall of China
•     A pagoda visit
•     A visit to the Ming tombs where 13 of the 15 emperors re buried
•     A lecture on eastern medicine from the Chinese Medicine Research Center
•     A visit to Tiananmen Square, the largest town square in the world
•     A visit to the Forbidden Palace
•     A visit to the Terra Cotta Museum where 8,000 clay soldiers are buried underground
•     A visit to Banpo village to see how ancient Chinese lived
•     A performance of a Kung Fu show
•     A visit to a Buddha temple
•     A visit to Nanjing Road which is much like Times Square in New York
•     An acrobatic performance
•     Shopping at Stanley Market

ECPI students being treated to a foot massage at a center for Chinese medicine which centers on herbal remedies.

Students learned interesting aspects about China during the course. Due to population issues, the government instituted a policy in 1978 that would allow for only one child per family and that families would be fined for having more. Many families would abort females in order to have a male heir. As a result, by 2020 there will be 50 to 70 million unmarried males with no hope of finding a spouse.

Students noted that there was very little obesity in China which could be attributed to shopping every day for fresh food and lack of sweets. The internet is also censored in China with no search reference for Facebook, George Washington or democracy. The government also controls the heat by turning it on November 15 and off on March 15, incidentally during the time of ECPI University’s visit. The group experienced colder temperatures with no access to heat in many commercial locations. “The entire group came back with a whole new appreciation for our country,” said Dr. Corillo.

An Evening of Firsts

Graduates: Dena Horne, Barbara Lee McDonald, Andrea L. Tomlinson

It was an evening of “firsts” that made for a very special graduation for the Culinary Institute of Virginia. On June 24, 180 students graduated in a ceremony at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, Virginia. It was the largest class to date and 50 percent larger than the class of 2010.

The evening also marked the first graduates of the school’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Food Service Management.

Graduates: Grant Loy, Donald Lee, Ryan Travis

One of those graduates was Yanina Yearwood, who originally graduated from CIV in Culinary Arts in 2009, and was the first to enroll and graduate from the Bachelor’s program. Yanina told guests of the ceremony how she had once told her son she wanted to be a chef when he asked her “what do you want to be when you grow up mom?” She pursued her dream and education while working full-time in the United States Navy and raising her son. Two years ago she opened her own personal chef and catering business, Younique Treats, LLC, which has grown more than sixty percent over the last year. “CIV gave me the confidence and skills,” said Yanina in her graduate remarks about starting her own business.

Behind the scenes food preparation at CIV graduation

Graduates also spent the week prior preparing food for their own graduation event. Working out of 11 kitchens, they prepared everything from roast turkeys to salmon salad for more than 1,700 guests and students. “What a better way to teach and model what the business is about than by catering your own event,” said Stephen Perkins, Culinary Institute of Virginia instructor.

Student volunteer, Robert Swann and Steve Nahra of CIV’s Career Services prepare for the after-ceremony celebration

CIV Wins for Creativity at Charity Food Event

Competing among 34 of Hampton Road’s food establishments, the Culinary Institute of Virginia, proudly walked away with the “Most Creative Dish Award.” The event on March 29 was the 22nd Annual Taste of Hampton Roads to benefit the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. The yearly event helps provide money for the distribution of more than 382,000 meals to help feed children, working families and senior citizens throughout Southeastern Virginia.

CIV’s culinary team was led by Chef Instructors Greg Burroughs, Kelly DeMarchena, Calise Fachko, and Jonathan Highfield. The judging panel consisted of 10 culinary professionals, including food writers, culinary educators and successful restaurateurs.

From left to right: Chef Greg Burroughs, Chef Kelly Demarchena, Chef Jonathan Highfield, and Chef Calise Fachko

The culinary team also consisted of student volunteers who helped prepare the four dishes enjoyed by the hungry crowd of nearly 1,000 guests. The dishes were:

•           Jerked Chicken with Crispy Ginger Plantains and Candied Jalapenos
•           Chilled Grilled Mojito Shrimp with Fire Roasted Salsa, and a Orange-Mint Foam
•           Coconut Cream, Chocolate Cake and Cashew Crunch Trifle
•           Mango Bavarian Cream ”tini” with a Pomegranate Gelee and Cookie Corkscrew

Food Service Manager Instructor, Howard Gevertz, worked with students just before the event to make sure the booth looked as good as the food tasted.

Culinary Students Rule the Field at Chef Association Showdown

On April 15, the Tidewater Chefs Association held its Fourth Annual Culinary Showdown, a competition open to culinary students in the Hampton Roads region. Representatives from The Culinary Institute of Virginia (CIV) led by Chefs Perkins and Delargy won first, second and third place.

The recognition comes from four months of training by CIV’s competition team.  Each Friday, the eight students of the CIV team would meet with their chef instructors to hone their skills with drills and mock competitions to prepare for this year’s event. This preparation helped the CIV teams keep their cool against competitors from two other culinary schools and a panel of 10 judges.

From left to right: Vivian Osmus, Michael Davis, Tyler Henry, Chef Charles Delargy, Carol Robbs, Chef Stephen Perkins, Lafayette Holley, Gwen Webster and Joy Richardson

CIV’s Competition Team consisted of:

First Place
Carol Robbs
Tyler Henry

Second Place
Michael Davis
Vivian Osmus

Third Place
Lafayette Holley
Gwen Webster

Honorable Mention
Joel Shapiro
Joy Richardson