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Chefs Prepare 'Bits and Bites' to Help El Centro College Culinary Arts Students - March 2012


For immediate release — March 16, 2012
(DALLAS) — For “Bits and Bites” of spirits, sweets and savory things, El Centro College is the place to be Sunday, March 25, as area chefs lend their hands and their talents to raise funds for ECC's culinary arts program. Those funds will help the college expand its kitchen facilities and services so that faculty members can nurture the next generation of talented food and hospitality experts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Good food, great chefs and learning how to cook are popular on TV — “Hell's Kitchen,” “Chopped” and “Top Chef-Texas,” for example. All of those chefs and everything they learned started with some formal training. More than 150 accomplished chefs in the Dallas area got their start with the Food and Hospitality Institute at El Centro College.

Many of those chefs are volunteering their time and skills for the “Bits and Bites” special event to help raise funds for the institute on Sunday, March 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. The evening's festivities will feature foods prepared by El Centro's former students and friends of the college. A variety of spirits will be served as well. The cost is $40 in advance and $45 at the door; the event will be held on the downtown campus of El Centro College, 801 Main St.

Friends, students, staff members and faculty volunteers will transform the dining room, kitchen and Student Center at El Centro College into a showcase for this popular culinary arts fundraiser. This year's honorary chair for the event is Gus Katsigris, professor emeritus from ECC who remains involved with educators and successful chefs alike to promote opportunities for students in the college's culinary arts program. El Centro alumni Duni Borga of La Duni; Chris Vogeli, executive chef at III Forks; and Paula Lambert of The Mozzarella Company are among 20 top chefs who will contribute to the event.

“ 'Bits and Bites' helps El Centro College showcase the talents of its alumni and the program we offer for aspiring culinary arts students,” said Jessie Yearwood, faculty member and registered dietitian at ECC who is one of the event's organizers.

During “Bits and Bites,” two veterans of the food and hospitality industry in Dallas will be honored:

  • Norman Brinker, founder of Brinker International and Steak and Ale (posthumously); and
  • Gene Street, who recently opened Liberty Burger and founded more than a dozen other concepts in Dallas, including the Black-Eyed Pea, Dixie House and Cantina Laredo.

Each will be recognized with the 2012 Founders Award because they have been innovative risk-takers, have created thousands of jobs and have employed thousands of Dallas-area citizens in their numerous establishments.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at Purchase tickets by mail with checks made payable to "DCCCD Foundation" and send to: El Centro College Business Division, ATTN: Cindy Bozzelli-Duke 801 Main St., Dallas TX  75202.

For information, contact either Jessie Yearwood, registered El Centro dietitian, by phone at 214-860-2608 or by email at; or Cindy Bozelli-Duke by phone at 214-860-2213 or by email at

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Press contact: Ann Hatch