Gary Rice, MBA

Gary Rice

Be true to yourself and work hard. Gary Rice , Program Chair, Culinary Arts , 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?

When I was 20 years old and recovering from a life-threatening illness, I began to see my life differently. I spent the better part of two years in physical, occupational, and speech therapy. After recovery I decided to take on a new take my love of cooking and make a career out of it.

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

With over two decades in the hospitality industry, I have plenty of real-world experience to share in the classroom. It all works into discussions on motivation, self-discipline, and pride. I use my contacts in the San Antonio area to bring in guest lecturers, take students on trips to hotels and restaurants, and bring them to seminars and restaurant association events where they can begin doing some networking.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I love to teach Capstone. It’s an all-encompassing class that lets me see just how much student have learned in my program. Watching them during their cooking practical shows me where the school is in terms of attention to teaching the core basics.

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

Listen, ask questions, and stay current with trends and technology. Be true to yourself and work hard. Work in as many different places as you can when you’re young... explore the industry, then settle down and make a career of what you love best.

Anything else you’d like to share?

As a program chair, I treat every student and every one of my team members as if they were family.