Alumni Stories

Joyce Bucad

Joyce Bucad

No matter the situation, summon every ounce of willpower you have left to finish what you have started. Joyce Bucad Associate of Science in Culinary Arts, 2009 , The Art Institute of Las Vegas

Chef Joyce Bucad is an assistant pastry chef at Mandalay Bay Hotel Las Vegas, responsible for assisting the executive pastry chef with day-to-day operations, scheduling, purchasing, team development, creating the daily pastry production schedule, and cake room production. She also helps with menu development and tastings. Joyce gained national attention as the season 38, episode 10 winner of the Food Network show Chopped. The episode, titled “Doughnut Dash,” featured guest Martha Stewart, whose cooking shows Joyce had watched as a child.

She says that a typical day begins with creating a production schedule for her crew. “After everyone has [their assignment], I put together a list of what needs to be ordered for the day and upcoming events.” She checks frequently to ensure that banquet and restaurant orders are being completed in a timely manner—this interaction gives her the chance to work alongside her team before she prepares for the daily banquets and convention operational meeting.

Joyce states that her education provided the skills she needed to succeed. In 2009, she completed an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Las Vegas. “My amazing instructors helped me to hone my culinary skills and instilled in me the importance of having a positive attitude. They set me up for success!”

Her educational experience also showed her how to handle challenges, including her transition from a pastry cook to a savory chef—then back. “When I moved back to pastry, there were those who questioned whether I was capable of doing pastries because I came from the savory side. I had to prove myself and make them see that I have a diverse culinary background, a different point of view, and a different palate.” Her experience in both sweet and savory leads to new and innovative dishes and creative collaborations with her fellow chefs.

Joyce adds that a culinary career requires commitment to lifelong learning. “You must spend a large amount of time learning about the craft, honing your skills, and seeking mentors that can help you grow not only as a well-rounded culinarian but as a better leader.” She is a hard worker who knows that no task is beneath her. Her go-getter attitude has gained Joyce the respect of others in the kitchen.

Joyce recommends that current students stay focused and keep moving forward. “No matter the situation, summon every ounce of willpower you have left to finish what you have started. That sense of accomplishment afterward will be so worth it.” She mentions the first time she saw her desserts listed on a restaurant menu. “It was such a great recognition.” It eventually led being nominated for “Aspire,” a company-wide leadership development program for line-level employees. “The program opened doors for me and helped me get to where I am today.”

In addition to her culinary work, Joyce gives back to the community through an on-going pledge to support Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Nevada. She also volunteers when possible. Recently, she supported a bake sale benefiting Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation. She plans to keep helping others by volunteering at community bake sales that raise money for causes close to her heart.