Dozens turn out for Culinary Institute’s Enrollment Expo

Over 100 registered in advance for the event featuring faculty and staff

Some want to start a business or become entrepreneurs.

Others said they were looking to take their cooking skills to the next level.

“I just want to do better and do it professionally,” said Christina McLaughlin, who attended the Enrollment Expo for the Culinary Institute of the South, held on June 17, at TCL’s New River Campus in Bluffton.

More than 100 had registered in advance for the expo, which featured information and representatives from area businesses as well as faculty and staff from the institute.

Many came to enroll, meet staff members and go over financial aid information, while others, like McLaughlin, who had already enrolled, wanted to finalize details or talk more with faculty members.

A busy mother of three who enjoys cooking for her family and co-workers, McLaughlin currently works in auto sales but has been looking to change careers for some time.

“I’m ready to try something new,” she said at Thursday’s event.

Interested in a career in hospitality and culinary arts, McLaughlin was able to spend some time discussing career goals with Chef Miles Huff, Dean of the institute, and other faculty members.

Eighteen-year-old Valerie Leysath also met with faculty and staff.

A recent graduate of Beaufort-Jasper Academy of Career Excellence, or ACE, Leysath said it was there that she met ACE instructor Chef Sam Carpenter, and began firming up her career goals.

“He really gave me the motivation in life to go for my passion,” she said.

Leysath, who also lives close to the institute’s new building, currently under construction in Bluffton, said she is “ecstatic” about her future in culinary arts.

“There are just so many things I could go off from here,” she said, naming a few possibilities – from working in food-related print or broadcast media to working in the restaurant business. “There really are vast opportunities with this.”

Leysath is also excited that she’ll be among the first students to step foot inside a brand new building when the institute opens this fall.

“There’s nothing better than getting your hands on a brand new kitchen,” she said smiling.

Missed the last expo?

Mark your calendar – another enrollment event is planned for Sept. 16.