CCCC Natural Chef Program has international flavor

Pittsboro, NC – Central Carolina Community College’s Summer Natural Chef Certification Program has developed an international flavor.

Three of the class members have foreign ties. Patricia Arbelaez lives in Montreal, Canada. Meriel Goodwin lived in Europe for about 25 years. Audrey Wolff, who now lives in North Carolina, is formerly of Paris, France.

Central Carolina Community College International Chefs“I was looking for a program because I’m starting a culinary arts program in Montreal in September,” said Arbelaez, who learned about the CCCC program through a Google search. “I wanted to learn more about healthier ways to prepare foods.”

Goodwin, who grew up in the New York City area, said she learned about the Natural Chef program through an Internet search several years ago. “I did culinary training there [in Europe], but never worked in a commercial kitchen. That’s what interested me here,” she said.

Wolff, from Paris, attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and now lives in the area. “I thought it would be the perfect program for me because I’m interested in learning more how nutrition and how to care about people with allergies,” she said.

Chef Gregg Hamm, Executive Director of the Central Carolina Culinary Institute, says that all students bring a unique individual “flavor” to the class. “Students from various regions and now countries bring ethnic value, as well as information and experience from regional growth patterns and food uses,” said Hamm. “We all learn from one another while adding the professional outlook and experience of our faculty.”

The three women all had praise for the CCCC program.

“So far, it’s been very good,” said Arbelaez. “I like the fact that it’s a very small group, so we get to learn more.”

“I think the program is an excellent buy for the money,” said Goodwin. “I think the quality of the teaching has been terrific.”

Wolff said class members learn a lot from each other. “I really love it. I really enjoy it,” she said. “I was a little afraid at first because I didn’t go to culinary school.”

Classes for the 10-week certificate program began May 18 and ends July 30, with classes held Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

The Central Carolina Culinary Institute’s Natural Chef Certification Program is a dynamic, innovative, and truly unique program.

“The program is very affordable to students locally and from afar,” said Hamm. “The program offers immediate job training skills needed for the culinary industry.”

Students study holistic nutrition and sustainable culinary techniques. They work hand in hand with the Central Carolina Community College Student Farm, and other area farmers, to gain real world experience with a farm-to-table approach to sourcing and agricultural stewardship.

“Our farm allows direct instruction of the season bounty of foods,” said Hamm. “It shows us the advantages of local foods and allows the creativity of cross-utilizing and preserving products.”

Students matriculate with a comprehensive understanding of sustainable and nourishing food practices, how to prepare delicious and therapeutic foods to avoid illness and promote optimal health, and how to navigate all the equipment and practices of a professional kitchen.

This modern approach to holistic nutrition and culinary arts marries traditional holistic techniques, knowledge, and practice with the latest culinary trends and equipment.

Wolff said she loves working with the fresh produce.

“It has been an incredible experience,” said Arbelaez.

Goodwin noted, “I think it’s terrific. I’m having a wonderful time.”

The Natural Chef program operates every summer at CCCC’s Chatham County Campus. To follow this and other culinary programs at CCCC, visit the website