Christina M. Perrington, CEC
The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
While I was serving during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, I learned that one person could make a difference. I was a food service sergeant preparing meals for the soldiers in my unit. I used my years of experience and my creativity to make sure everything they ate was the best it could be. Good food boosts morale...and it’s my first love.
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
I use my life and professional experiences—good and bad—to add context to classroom lessons and help students better understand the material. My stepmother is from Vietnam, and I’ve traveled to many countries in Asia, which is why I specialize in Asian Cuisine.
What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?
I ask students to build a business plan...I love teaching the purchasing and cost-control aspect of it. I try to relate all the material to students’ everyday lives. Most of my students don’t like math, so I give them as many resources as possible to help them feel more confident with the project.
How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?
They have a wonderful opportunity to work with students from other programs in their business plans, portfolios and menu design—not to mention the chance to make friends for life.
What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?
My life philosophy is that the more I know, the more I know I don’t know. Life is really just an education outside the classroom. I love teaching students about food, which is my passion
What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?
Do what you love...life’s too short not to enjoy it.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve been in the culinary industry for over 35 years, and I’ve seen many changes in the industry. But one thing has stayed the same: success takes hard work and perseverance. Food may be a necessity of life, but it’s also my passion. And it’s an honor to be able to teach what I love.