El Centro

New El Centro Culinary Campus to Produce Chefs Twice as Quickly

Accelerated program will allow Culinary, Pastry and Hospitality students to earn 2-year Associates Degree in one year.

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Chef Jesmary Sbraga has a motto that just about anyone can get behind.

“Chocolate just makes everything a little better,” said the Puerto Rican-turned-new North Texan, while she drizzled a chocolate sauce of her own making atop a custom-created dessert featuring seasonal fruits and hand-whipped cream.

Sbraga, who has spent the past 24 years as a working culinary professional, recently moved to the area from New Jersey to be part of the newly-assembled faculty of the overhauled Culinary, Pastry and Hospitality program at El Centro College - North Campus in Dallas.

“My approach is always to keep it kind of simple and approachable,” said Sbraga who will primarily teach Bakery/Pastry courses.

El Centro still needs approximately 80 students to fill out the initial class of the program, which begins instruction on Tuesday, March 24 in the 50,000 square foot facility that used to be home to Le Cordon Bleu at 11830 Webb Chapel Road in Dallas.

The school has spent the past three months overhauling the facility and outfitting its 10 kitchens, its many classrooms and its working restaurant with all of the hardware and software that the culinary students of tomorrow need.

El Centro offers an accelerated Fast-Track program, which allows the culinary students to complete their two-year Associate’s Degree in one year.

Upon graduation from the program, the expectation is that the graduates will have ample opportunity for employment in the booming North Texas restaurant industry.

“Operators are spread thin as far as their workforce needs. Restaurants, hotels, all kinds of food service businesses. And the pay is really good right now,” said Steve DeShazo, Senior Director of Culinary, Pastry and Hospitality at El Centro. “And the whole industry is supporting us. Chefs, restaurants, hotels, business owners. They are behind us 100% and they are ready to give our students opportunity.”

El Centro is hosting two orientation days this week – Monday and Tuesday – at the North Campus location. The orientation on Monday runs from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and the Tuesday orientation goes from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

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