The instructors not only taught me basic skills, [but] what to expect in the field by teaching from their own experiences. AJ Mangas Diploma in Culinary Arts, 2013 , The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design
Line and Banquet Cook at Carlouel Yacht ClubAJ Mangas is working as a line and banquet cook at Carlouel Yacht Club in Clearwater, Florida. He is responsible for preparing stations and banquets, as well as creating dishes. AJ says that his days are very fast paced. “We have a small staff in the kitchen, so it requires a lot of concentration and technique to ensure the food is prepared correctly and to the [Head] Chef’s standards,” he says.
AJ is proud to have made a career change in his 30s, moving from a position as an auto technician to his current culinary career. “I love creating new dishes, or putting my own twist on classic dishes, using fresh ingredients.” AJ adds that the most satisfying part of being a chef is hearing that customers enjoy his creations. “The absolute best is when a server comes into the kitchen and tells me that the customer loved their dish. That makes all the stress and pressure worth it.”
AJ, who in 2013 earned a Diploma in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Tampa, says that his education helped to prepare him for a culinary career. “Everything from the classes to the kitchen labs were amazing. The instructors not only taught me basic skills, [but] what to expect in the field by teaching from their own experiences*. I use the techniques that I learned [in school] every single day.”
*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.