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Following Her Passion Leads to Sweet Career

Alejandra Rodriguez always had a passion for baking. But her parents weren’t sure she could make a living at it. So, her father agreed to pay for culinary school if she got a bachelor’s degree and still wanted to cook.

After Rodriguez finished her bachelor’s degree in education, she still wanted to follow her dream. Eventually, that passion led her to El Centro College’s Food and Hospitality Institute. Now she’s making a living as a baker.

“The passion that the teachers have [at El Centro], it really shows that they know what they’re talking about and they care about what they’re talking about, and they care that we learn those skills,” Rodriguez says.
“That expectation, that hope, for me, that really drives my personal passion and keeps it going.”
Learn More, Pay Less
The Food and Hospitality Institute, located at the El Centro College Downtown Campus, may be the best-kept secret in town. It provides a great, hands-on education at a fraction of the cost of expensive culinary institutes.
Its three program paths feature a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on participation and work-related experience designed to prepare you for three different food service careers:
  • Bakery/Pastry will prepare you to make pastries and baked goods for bakeries, pastry shops, hotels, country clubs and in-store bakeries.
  • Culinary Arts will help you develop the skills necessary to work in a variety of culinary-related positions.
  • Food and Hospitality Service will train you to work in a wide variety of food service positions, from a small coffee shop to a large hotel.
Like Math? You May Like to Cook
Rodriguez’s affinity for math and science has helped her as a baker.
“Baking is more of a mathematical science; you have to be very specific” with measurements, she notes. “If you’re off by an ounce, it can completely throw the recipe off.”
Rodriguez feels that El Centro has prepared her for success.
“Because of El Centro College, I have gained the skills that I need so that I can enjoy my job to the fullest … it’s just been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever had,” says Rodriquez.
“I’m a very proud El Centro student, and I would highly recommend this place to everybody.”