Grayson College holds culinary and hospitality center ribbon cutting

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Grayson College officially opened the new Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center Monday.

It offers classes in cooking, hosting and etiquette, and business management.

And it's helping students like Jessica Rushing, who wants to someday open her own restaurant.

"I'll be honest with you, I had no idea it was even here," Rushing said. "And I was just looking to take some classes, and I saw it was in the brochure - hospitality management - and I signed up the very next day."

Rushing moved here eight years ago. She worked as a waitress and bartender. But she wants to move up the food chain.

"My end goal is to be my own boss someday, but definitely be a manager somewhere," she said.

Steve Davis, dean of Workforce Education, said a few students first suggested the program in the fall of 2010.

"And we admitted those, and then we admitted a few more," he said. "But when the program finally opened in Spring 2012, we've had a significant enrollment increase."

The program had 132 students last fall. This semester it has 202.

"We have some of the best kitchens you will find anywhere," Davis said.

Rushing said the state-of-the-art facilities will be difficult to leave.

"It's probably spoiling us for the future," she said. "Because some of those machines back there are not everywhere."

She hopes to open her own restaurant someday. And right now, she's expanding her culinary knowledge so she can achieve that goal.

"You think you know it all. And then you come somewhere like this and you don't," she said. "So I've enjoyed it a lot."

For people interested in tasting what the students have to offer, the school hosts a student-run restaurant on Wednesdays and Fridays during lunch.

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