James Romano

James Romano

I love Ai Charleston because of the passion and the dedication that students, faculty, and employees display on a daily basis. This passion invigorates me each day to be excited about my position and the classes in which I am involved. James Romano , Culinary Instructor , The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

I realized I’d chosen the right path when I was offered the position of general manager and operating partner with a local restaurant group. The faith and trust they placed in me made me realize I had a marketable talent.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I structure my classes to give students real-life examples of how to handle the operational challenges restaurants face every day. Each day of dining room service, we encounter guests with a variety of different tastes. Each guest experience serves as an ideal learning tool that students will be able to call on in the future.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

The one that jumps to mind centers around having the students describe their ideal service experience in a restaurant, then having them provide that same experience to the guests in our dining room each day.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

Working together in restaurant operations is a vital key to success. Every day we open for service, teamwork between students is the expectation and the norm.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

The single most important thing I do to help my students is offer feedback and critique in the same way a future employer would.

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

Never discount any opportunity that offers new experience or knowledge. You never know when that experience may come in handy.

Anything else you’d like to share?

While my role focuses on teaching and guiding Culinary students, it also lets me continue learning about myself and my approach in the industry. I find that the more I mentor and guide students, the more progress I see in my personal development.