Expelled from two high schools, Byron Villagran is now studying environmental science at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. He attended a charter school with an environmental focus, enlisted in the Job Corps and now hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree and work as an environmental analyst.
Lynn Brown, who was “cooking pot roasts in the third grade” for his mother, is training to be a chef at the bistro, a partnership between AACC and the Laurel-based Woodland Job Corps Career Development Center.
Cole’s Bistro serves three-course dinners twice a month; online reservations are required.
“Some of our students have never been away from home or have never been to a really nice restaurant,” (culinary arts instructor Monique) Williams said. “As close as they get is our bistro.”
Students staged a soft opening this month with a menu that included a crab appetizer, French onion soup and braised veal shanks with brown sauce, risotto and vegetable.
As a graduation requirement, culinary arts students prepare an on-campus luncheon inspired by their favorite chef.
AACC’s cooking and restaurant program draws students from as far away as Puerto Rico and California.
Iesha Wright, from Rock Hill, S.C., said that she heard about the AACC program while at a Job Corps program in that state, but her knowledge of restaurants was limited to working in fast-food venues.
She’d never eaten Italian or French food before coming to Maryland. “Here, I’ve tried escargot and alligator. It’s a new experience for me.”