TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Larry Matson, the director of the Tyler Junior College Culinary Arts program, was named Texas Chef of the Year by the Texas Chef Association (TCA) for 2022, said TJC.

He is also a professor at the college.

“I was nominated once before, about 15 years ago when I was in Dallas, but this is my first time to win it,” said Matson. “I’m very grateful to have been nominated and to have been presented the award by Chef Rick Neal of Tyler.”

Those nominated for the award are involved in TCA programs. They were also judged on their culinary skills, efforts to advance the cuisine of America and for helping train students in their profession.

“One of the things I do is serve as a judge for the [U.S. Armed Forces’ Joint Culinary Training Exercise] in Fort Lee, Virginia, which is probably the largest culinary competition in the U.S.,” he said. “I’m also a practical examiner for certification; so, when people become certified at different culinary levels, they have to submit paperwork, do a written test and do a cooking test. I do a lot of things like that.”

Matson said he enjoys helping students grow. He arrived at TJC in October of 2019 as the director of their new culinary arts program.

The college offers an associate degree and certificates of proficiency for students interested in the restaurant business. TJC said their Associate of Applied Science degree in culinary arts teaches students all they need to know to apply for entry-level restaurant management careers.

Culinary students have classes at the George W. Pirtle Technology Center on campus. They have a commercial kitchen and restaurant area, so the future chefs can practice for when they embark on their careers.

Students take several classes to learn culinary and baking skills and management ideas and strategies. They also dive into courses to learn how to cook traditional, current, American and international foods.

Students also learn about inventory management and purchasing restaurant items. A basic culinary certificate is also offered and students can learn about food safety, how to handle equipment and cooking.

Students can also learn how to handle knifes and about nutrition and menu management.

There is also a pastry arts certificate for people who want to work in that field. Those in the program learn to bake and how to decorate cakes. They also review food safety principles.

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