After being at Eastview Campus for more than two decades, Austin Community College’s (ACC) Culinary Arts program is preparing to move.
“I'm a little nervous. It's going to be a lot of moving. We're moving all the stuff, but I'm just so excited about finally getting in our new space and setting up,” says Chef Stephanie Herrington, ACC Culinary Arts department chair. “Watching the first students walk through the doors and seeing their reaction is such a profound change.”
The program is moving into new, state-of-the-art kitchens at ACC Highland Phase 2. It’s ten times the size of the current space and features advanced equipment, multiple prep and demo kitchens, and a new, expanded student-run restaurant open to the public — Eatery 73.
“Providing a student-run restaurant offers our students the real-world experience they need. It’s one of the most important components of education,” says ACC chancellor Dr. Richard Rhodes. “Combining academic knowledge and hands-on training is critical in the changing face of higher education. By applying what they learn in the classroom and experimenting with different methods, students are prepared for their careers.”
“It's just jaw-dropping. It's so unreal that we're moving,” says Andrea Delgado, ACC Culinary Arts student. “
Delgado got a sneak peek of the new space with Chef Herrington.
“The restaurant is a big deal because we currently have been working out of a classroom for a dining room,” says Herrington. “We'll be able to run a full-service restaurant for lunch and dinner. We'll be able to do internships for students. That's something we couldn't offer before. It gives them more real-world experience in different areas.”
“It looks completely different from what I'm used to, but it's exciting because it's new and it's bigger, and it's better. It just makes me so excited,” added Delgado. “I can't wait to put my hands in that restaurant. I will be part of one of the first classes to start cooking in it. This will give me that extra boost for my future goals.”
Eatery 73 will be open to the public and sits along the southwest side of Phase 2 near. It includes an outdoor patio and windows throughout.
“I've been in this business for almost 38 years. I cannot think of a restaurant or any kitchen that I've worked in that there's a window,” says Herrington. “Being able to see if the sun is out or what is happening is such a blessing. It helps people be a little more creative and think differently.”
Chef Herrington will begin the move-out process in November 2020. Select courses are expected to start in the new facility as early as spring 2021.
For more information about the latest developments at ACC Highland Campus Phase 2, visit austincc.edu/highlandproject.
To learn more about the Culinary Arts program, visit austincc.edu/culinary.