Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baking and the Windy City

This has been a good year for Vol State’s Hotel and Restaurant Management Program.

The National Restaurant Association (NRAEF) has selected two Vol State students to participate in the Michael E. Hurst Educational Forum and Salute to Excellence 2010. “This is a one day forum that lets them (the students) meet with industry leaders and helps to learn how to become successful in the business,” said Mary Nunaley, Associate Professor of Distance Learning.

“I chose two of my students, and it is the first time Vol State students have ever been selected. There are only a handful of community college students selected. They will be going to Chicago on May 22, 2010,” said Nunaley.

“After we were nominated we had to fill out an application and submit a letter telling the association why we deserved to attend the conference,” said Elisha Ickes in an email. Ickes also said that she is very happy to attend the forum.

Shonci Brooks is one of the students selected to attend. “It’s a forum food expo. You have to be nominated, and it is based on GPA and career goals,” she said.

“My desire is to open a gourmet bakery with flavors you can’t find such as pistachio, java, and red velvet cheese cake. Now I do some baking out of my home. I plan to open something in Hendersonville,” Brooks said.

“When I was a little girl, I would sit in my aunt’s kitchen. I would play with her gadgets and spoons. I opened my first cup cake stand,” said Brooks.

“I just started a Twitter account and my goal is to have a weekly cake challenge with a question just for fun. My favorite cake has lots of chocolate. My favorite dessert is a chocolate cake with a cup of coffee,” Brooks said. Her Twitter account is linked to the Facebook page.

“I have absolutely loved my experience here at Vol State. I actually went to Nashville Tech and I felt disconnected. I’ll tell anyone here to go to Vol state before you go to a four year school. Save the money,” said Brooks.

Brooks has three children 11, 15, and 21. She is excited about opening her gourmet cake business.

The photo was taken at Portrait Innovations courtesy of Shonci Brooks.

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