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Culinary Arts and Hospitality Academy at Riverchase Career Connection Center

Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 3:39 PM CDT
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HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - The Culinary Arts and Hospitality Academy at Riverchase Career Connection Center, or RC3, is vital to your dining experience.

K. J. Rudolph is a student at Spain Park High School, but he also has two years in the Culinary Arts Academy at the Riverchase Career Connection Center for Hoover City Schools. Students come each day to RC3 from their base high schools to get immersed in a career experience. He can take what he learns at RC3 and get college credit.

“Later on in life, I want to open my own business, or cook for others,” Rudolph said.

Executive Chef Chris Villa is one of the instructors, who says training is key, not just for preparing beautiful dishes, but also food safety.

“Many of our students are already working in the industry and they are doing well,” Villa said. “They also have an understanding that dining is an experience - so how to read body language of a guest and anticipate when they need something, and let’s just let it play instead of ‘Can I get y’all anything?’ Well half the glasses are empty. Let’s start with water.”

Students get certified for real world work experience, and since the pandemic, one more certification was added - how to de-escalate and navigate mask mandates.

“How are you? Thanks for coming in. Look, can I get you to put your mask on? I understand. It’s not really a national policy that I know of, but it is our policy. Would you mind just putting it on just for a second?” Villa demonstrated.

“We do events that are geared towards the curriculum, and it really is a a simulated work environment. They have to clock in, they have to be in uniform, and they have to have accountability points. If they reach 10, they get disinvited, which is a long way of saying they are fired,” continued Villa.

Right now RC3 is open for students to enroll for the upcoming school year, including the other four academies: Cyber Innovation, Fire Science, Health Science, and Skilled Trades.

For more information, visit this website.

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