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Miami Dade College Culinary Students Gain Hands-On Experience at Major Community Events

Next project is Baptist Health Foundation’s 5th Annual Sauté & Sip May 12

Miami, April 20, 2012 - Late nights and long weekends at local fundraising galas and other high profile events have given students at the Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) of Miami Dade College (MDC) the highly coveted experience many aspiring chefs and hospitality professionals long for. In fact, numerous organizations and major event organizers have routinely requested the involvement of MDC’s MCI students.

The “real world” work experience for these students will continue next month, when 60 MCI students will participate in Baptist Health Foundation’s 5th Annual Pineapple Sauté & Sip Interactive Dinner event on May 12 at the Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne. 

The students will serve as sous chefs for the interactive food experience and fundraising event that will benefit the Baptist Health Breast Center’s CareCoach Program. As sous chefs, the MCI students will assist Celebrity Chef Ingrid Hoffman with preparing a bevy of gourmet dishes and will interact with guests that will include more than 500 community leaders. 

Since the Institute’s opening last spring, MCI students have participated in numerous top community events including the Miami International Film Festival, Miami Book Fair International, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and most recently, The Grind. In fact, it was at this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival that MCI students prepared more than 14,000 servings in support of Goya Foods, whose corporate chefs were featured at several festival locations. It is this type of practical yet valuable learning experience that MCI administrators have deemed priceless.   

“It is very important for our students to feel the impact of their work in the community,” said Chef John Richards, director of the Miami Culinary Institute. “The experience they gain working at these events is immeasurable. They wouldn’t get that within the four walls of a classroom - they interact with people, see their smiling faces, and get to hear the feedback about the food and the quality of service.” 

The curriculum at MCI is designed to prepare students with real-world knowledge and expectations. Through a focused infusion of green-sustainable food and energy technologies, cutting-edge nutrition and culinary knowledge, MCI’s goal is to create well-rounded professionals who will evolve and innovate the world's food culture and, in doing so, provide a happier, healthier population and planet. 

Richards added: “The other wonderful benefit is it gets the students in front of their potential employers. It gives them a chance to network and establish relationships with restaurateurs and other industry professionals.” 

The event chair of the 5th Annual Pineapple Sauté & Sip Interactive Dinner is MDC alumna Missy Carricarte. The community leader is the founder of the training and professional development organization, Simple Results. In addition to partnering with MDC on the dinner event, she has also led dynamic training sessions for MDC employees.

For more information about the Miami Culinary Institute, visit For more information about the Pineapple Sauté & Sip Interactive Dinner, email or call 786-467-5400.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist

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