On Friday, September 10, 2010 at 6:00 p.m., as the host for High School Inc. Culinary Arts & Hospitality Academy students, Hilton Anaheim Executive Chef Fred Mensinga will prepare a Spanish-style “Tapas Party.” Using his own recipes for the choice bites of marinated vegetables and fish, fragrant soft cheeses with herbs, and fine olive oils with garlic and basil, Mensinga will get the evening started in style. Funds are being raised for the High School Inc. Extreme Kitchen Makeover. The Academies program augments the core school curriculum with real-world employment skills. Based at Santa Ana’s Valley High School, High School Inc. has 2,400 students interested in food service and six other industries. Executive Chef Mensinga wears his heart on his chef coat sleeve, and understands that these students are bound for jobs in Orange County, an area with significant food-service business from tourism, fine dining and fast-food facilities.
The program is in its third year of implementation, and Chef Mensinga has inspected the kitchen where students learn food safety, cooking, menu planning, plating, and customer service. It has had little in the way of upgrades, and much modernizing is needed for a real-world restaurant experience. A positive role model, Executive Chef Mensinga with his long career of culinary skills is motivating students along their way. Although many students from Valley High have limited dreams and aspirations, Latinos make up a majority of the kitchen staffs across Southern California. Chef Mensinga’s personal story of growing up in Europe and working his way up to become a chef helps students appreciate the impact he can provide them. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1979 with little in his pocket and a dream in his head to make delicious cuisine. His determination and talent won him a place at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, and in 1985 he joined the Hilton as an Executive Chef. Accomplished and award winning, Executive Chef Mensinga founded a cooking magazine that covers culinary trends for hotels and chefs, and features exciting new recipes. A dynamic person with a genuine interest in High School Inc. students, Chef Mensinga invites the public to attend the “Tapas Party” to support the Extreme Kitchen Makeover. For more information contact: sgomez@SantaAnaChamber.com