New Degree For Opening or Managing a Food Business

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Culinary Degree Program Image

Chef Meadow Massey is an alumna of the Culinary Arts Program at Truckee Meadows Community College.

“Many people have a dream to one day open their own bakery, restaurant, or a trendy breakfast place like Squeeze In, and now students will have more tools to be able to do just that,” said Nancy O’Neal, Management Instructor at Truckee Meadows Community College.

This Fall Semester, TMCC is launching new Culinary Arts Entrepreneurs programs that combine culinary arts with entrepreneurship.

  • Associate of Applied Science, Culinary Arts Entrepreneurs
  • Certificate of Achievement, Culinary Arts Entrepreneurs

“With just a few extra classes, students can put on a chef’s hat and aim to be their own boss,” she said.

The course of study for this new program combines mastery of culinary skills with entrepreneurship capabilities. Students already enrolled in one of the two subject areas may move seamlessly into the degree or certificate program. A certificate is completed with 30 credits, and the associate degree with 60.

“If you’ve already graduated with a culinary degree, you can come back and take the entrepreneurship classes toward the associate degree or certificate of achievement,” O’Neal said. “Chef Craig Rodrigue has opened a few of his own restaurants and Chef Karen Cannan is amazing. She is the lead chef and helped me develop the program.”

Students will learn how to finance a new business and become familiar with entrepreneurial marketing.

Business skills and management expertise will prepare graduates to either start their own food-related small company, or to be hired for management positions at hotels, casinos or ski resorts. They will be prepared for careers in operations of corporate or institutional cafeterias, including hospitals and private schools.

“For example, a student would be ready to apply for jobs as a manager or assistant manager at a restaurant, or in the kitchen or bakery in supermarkets like Whole Foods,” O’Neal said.

Skills are built upon through stacking of classes, from introduction of concepts to more advanced application of the concepts. An introduction to business plans in Culinary 245 will expand to the capstone Entrepreneurship 280 course which covers in depth the creation of a comprehensive business plan, ready to be implemented.

Northern Nevada’s economy is growing with large firms moving to the region

Reno-Sparks is experiencing economic growth as big corporations move to the area, and hosts a thriving small business climate, as well.

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, (EDAWN), has been working to bring new firms to the area. In October, the organization was awarded the 2014 Silver Excellence Award for Entrepreneurial Economic Development by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Tesla Motors is constructing a battery gigafactory in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRIC). A $1 billion, three million square foot SUPERNAP data center is planned by Switch. Also, early in March, Nutrient Foods announced the opening of a plant in northwest Reno that will formulate foods which contain the complete nutrients and fiber needed by humans at each meal.

On EDAWN’s website, one tab is devoted entirely to entrepreneurship topics.

“There may be up to a 25 percent increase in opportunity for jobs and new businesses in the region as a result of the large firms locating immediately east of Reno and Sparks,” O’Neal said. “There is tremendous support in the area for people seeking to build their own business, from app-building events, to One Million Cups, gatherings where prospective entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and the audience gives feedback.”

For more information about the Culinary Arts Entrepreneurs programs, call the Business Division at 775-673-7132.