American restaurant kitchens no longer use French – or even English – as their primary language. Then why are culinary schools in the US taught exclusively in English, leaving out Spanish speakers?
Part of the remedy for this situation is Washington DC’s first bilingual culinary arts program launch this week by Puerto Rico’s Ana G. Méndez University System (AGMUS). Students will be able to earn Associates degrees in two years.
Mio Restaurant‘s Chef Giovanna Huyke, Culinary Arts Program Director, AGMUS, Chef Roberto A. Rosario and others will be joined by AGMUS’ President Dr. José F. Méndez and Chancellor of Universidad del Este, Alberto Maldonado Ruiz, Esq., and Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray at the opening of the school this week.
According to the press release:
Hispanics make up 22% of individuals working in restaurants and bars nationwide [ii]. As this population grows, so does the need for qualified individuals in the culinary field. In fact, the field is projected to grow 6.6%, or add 3,900 more jobs in the District of Columbia alone, within the next ten years.
So, instead of staying in menial kitchen jobs, Spanish speakers will be able to climb the ranks of the kitchen hierarchy. The brochure on the new campus goes further: ” Our dual language model provides equal amount of instruction in both languages (50/50). The dual language model provides the job market with bilingually competitive individuals, who are able to respond to the needs of their employers and the growing global economy.” Culinary students need courses not only in cooking, but also in language arts, business, management, and marketing. This new school adds an important component.
Let’s hope restaurant kitchens open their doors to graduates.