Marcus Flakes

Culinary Management

Budget Analyst and Resource Advisor for the Air National Guard
The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, a campus of Argosy University

Alumni Marcus Flakes

I discovered that my entrepreneur and business plan courses awarded me an invaluable skill set that I was able to transfer into any business segment. Besides understanding the science of cooking, I was able to tap my greatest potential, which was writing, presentation, planning, and personnel management. Marcus Flakes , Budget Analyst and Resource Advisor for the Air National Guard
Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management , 2012 , The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, a campus of Argosy University

Marcus Flakes is a budget analyst and resource advisor for the Air National Guard. He’s a military veteran, having served in the Air National Guard for 16 years and earning the title of Sargent First Class and Chief of Food Operations. Today, he’s working as a civil engineering operations budget officer. Marcus assists the Base Civil Engineer with preparing the monthly real property and military construction reports and other special funding reports as required.

He recently earned a Master of Public Health degree and is a graduate student at Texas A&M University, studying Nonprofit Management. Marcus is also finding investors to restart the restaurant “Marco’s Pepper Grill” and he’s working on publishing the book “The Aspiring Chef,” which focuses on restaurant and organizational culture.

His current job keeps him busy developing programs for grant funding opportunities. He also writes grant proposals. Marcus, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management, The Art Institute of California—Sacramento, says that his education prepared him for a leadership role. “I discovered that my entrepreneur and business plan courses awarded me an invaluable skill set that I was able to transfer into any business segment. Besides understanding the science of cooking, I was able to tap my greatest potential, which was writing, presentation, planning, and personnel management.”

He recommends that current students keep track of their goals and visualize success. He followed that advice when he found himself without a home after a relationship break-up. “I slept in my restaurant until a regular customer of mine offered to buy a hotel room for me for two weeks. I continued to open and close my restaurant on time and even attended Chamber of Commerce Business meetings for more exposure.” He soon received a call that was life-changing. A news anchor for KTVL Channel 10 invited him to cook on live TV. “I prepared my dishes with conversation about the cuisines.” It was a very nervous moment for him, but he pushed through and completed the segment.

Marcus understands that different types of leadership are effective in different work environments. “The restaurant environment requires a transformational leadership approach, where owners and an executive chef use coaching and motivation as a tool to keep [employees] engaged. I have used this approach for years and continue to use it when mentoring youth in the community.” He adds that his book features a chapter called “The Nonprofit Restaurant Approach” that focuses on organizational culture.

He states that when he began to take an interest in history, art, culture, sociology, and cross cultural psychology, he discovered a new level of culinary understanding. “I [found] my niche, [which came to include] Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, Cuban and southwest cuisines, stemming from the enjoyment of working with chiles, vegetables, and sauces, as well as certain types of equipment.”

While his current job is not in culinary arts, he says that the philosophy of cooking remains a large part of his life. “You have to do, feel, or say something that makes you feel sane in the most strenuous moments of our life. You will feel as though a trial or tribulation you are having is either not worth the effort or even feel like it’s the worst day of your life.” He says it’s important to realize that each day is a new day that presents new challenges. “Our biggest challenge is time, therefore you have to be proficient, tactful, strategic, and physically and mentally ready for complex situations.”

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