PERKINSTON, MS (MGCCC) - Culinary students at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College may feel a bigger sense of pride in their courses. That's because these students are enrolled in the best program in the state, according to a new list by Best Choice Schools.
That designation gives lead instructor Chef Todd Reilly a swelling sense of pride after working for the past several years to earn a national accreditation with the American Culinary Federation.
"It's support we've gotten in the past. It's just nice to now get the recognition for it and to have other people see that as well," said Reilly.
According to Reilly, support from school administration moved the program into a brand new, state of the art facility right after he began teaching at the community college. He said enrollment has shot up significantly since then.
"It's gone from about 30 students to well over 200 now," said Reilly.
It's those students Reilly credits with the best in state designation.
"It's one of the honors that's reflective of our student body. We are judged by our quality of graduates," said Reilly.
The students working toward graduation are looking forward to getting into the work force. Tammy Golladay already has a job waiting for her in a coast casino with the help of this culinary program.
"When you leave here, you have the skills in your back pocket that it's going to take to succeed," said Golladay.
Other students are just beginning their culinary journey. Kimberly Costilow had options to go to other programs in the state, but chose MGCCC.
"I kind of like it here better, because you get to do more stuff," said Costilow.
Doing more stuff means more experience, which is what these students want.
"I enjoy being hands on," said Mary Williamson.
Other students agreed. If instructors like Reilly have any say, that experience will be on the menu for years to come.
The number one ranking with Best Choice Schools is based on a number of factors, including variety of coursework and low student to faculty ratios.