Culinary Institute of Virginia Graduates Start Catering and Retail Business in Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.- (May 4, 2009) – Three recent graduates of the Norfolk-based Culinary Institute of Virginia, the School of Culinary Arts at ECPI College of Technology, Linda Decoursey, Connie Sayles and Dorothy Cooke, have joined together to open a catering and retail food business in Newport News. Sinful Treats Catering is located at 12715 Warwick Blvd. Suite L.

Decoursey had a catering business and decided to enroll in the Culinary Institute of Virginia to learn more and fine tune her culinary skills. Along the way, she made friends and business associates with two other students. They graduated at the end of 2008 and started Sinful Treats Catering in 2009. So far, the three chefs have catered luncheons, dinners and business meetings for high profile industrial, financial and pharmaceutical companies in Newport News.

From left to right, CIV graduates Dorothy Cooke, Linda Decoursey, and Connie Sayles

From left to right, CIV graduates Dorothy Cooke, Linda Decoursey, and Connie Sayles

In addition to the off-site catering, the trio is in the midst of improving its retail location at Commonwealth Shopping Center. The store comprises 1200 square feet and offers soups, sandwiches, salads and fresh-made desserts. These are all prepared as take out items for breakfast or lunch. Within the week, new bakery racks will be installed to showcase homemade breads, cakes, pies, cupcakes and other baked treats.

“We have a very distinct southern style to all of our foods,” says Decoursey. “Our specialty is chicken salad that we prepare home style with fresh roasted chicken, cranberries, grapes and pecans.”

“The bakery items will be a big hit,” adds Sayles. “There’s no other bakery within 10 miles, and we plan to offer pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, breads and croissants.”

All agree that their time at the Culinary Institute of Virginia was well spent. Culinary Institute of Virginia’s Director of Culinary Education, Chef Mike Morphew, could not be prouder of Linda, Connie and Dorothy. “We measure the success of our school by the success of our graduates,” he says. “There is no greater satisfaction than watching students enter the foodservice industry with the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to run a successful business.”

Sinful Treats Catering is open from 8 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday. Once the bakery is up and running, they plan to have store hours on Saturday as well. The store and catering number is 930-1100.

Culinary Institute of Virginia opened for enrollment in fall 2006. Graduates can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in culinary science in less than two years. The curriculum offers a European educational model that combines classroom instruction with hands-on externships in the community. For information call 757-858-CHEF or visit