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Culinary expertise
Gwinnett Tech shows off skills to visitors

LAWRENCEVILLE - About 30 Thai educators visited Gwinnett Technical College on Wednesday to learn about the school's culinary arts program.

As students in the American Regional Cuisine class prepared dishes from the Mid-Atlantic and New England states, the traveling educators from Thailand toured the kitchen and snapped pictures of the culinary facilities.

"It's not often we get to show off our campus to such an esteemed group of educators," David McCulloch, Gwinnett Tech's vice president of recruiting, said to the visitors as they gathered in the Busbee Center's banquet hall. "Culinary arts is one of the crowning gems of our programs."

Chef Kerri Crean, the culinary arts program director, talked about some of the hallmarks of the 20-year-old program, such as giving students hands-on experience in catering an event.

"Learning in a classroom is one thing," Crean said. "The pressure of being in a hotel, restaurant or catered event is completely different for our students."

The program's move in 2004 from Building 100 to the Busbee Center, or Building 700, provided more space for classrooms and live learning laboratories, Crean said.

Crean also discussed the importance of developing partnerships with culinary equipment representatives, who can work with the school to provide students with the newest, most up-to-date equipment.

During their trip, the Thai educators visited the California Culinary Institute and several Atlanta restaurants.

"We would like to improve our curriculum," said Siripan Choomnoom, deputy secretary general of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission in Thailand's Ministry of Education.