Sabrina Spitzer stayed in the kitchen while growing up, watching intently as her mother baked tasty sweets for family gatherings. “I enjoyed it so much,” says Spitzer, who’s set to graduate this spring from the Center for Hospitality & Culinary Studies. “Whenever we had parties and friends over, she’d make cakes and I learned from her.”
Spitzer began looking at culinary schools prior to graduating from Glenelg High, never once thinking about HCC, a mere 15 minutes away. Then, during her junior year, her school received a visit from Chef David Milburn, assistant professor, baking and pastries at HCC. He explained how HCC’s program was growing and the kitchen was being upgraded, and she was sold.
“He was as excited as I was,” Spitzer says. “He was excited about the new kitchen and excited about teaching. It was very welcoming and very positive, a chance to learn everything in this industry, including how trends of restaurants are changing over time.”
She was sold and stopped looking at culinary schools. “They were very expensive and for only 18 months,” she says. “I feel like I wouldn’t have learned everything I did here, and it would’ve been rushed. HCC is a great school and much cheaper. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Almost. She could’ve done without the global pandemic, which wiped out a fantastic opportunity to study abroad. Spitzer and classmates were set to travel to France with Milburn in “Passport to Pastries,” a five-day intensive baking course at Ecole Nationale Superieure de Patisseries with some of the country’s best pastry chefs.
But Spitzer says that’s the only disappointment she’s experienced in three years at HCC. She has taken “practically every culinary course” and embraced Milburn’s innovative teaching approach – not to mention the school’s state-of-the-art equipment.
“We just got a 60-quart mixer and I’m in love with it,” she says. “I learned to use a dough shooter here and now we have one at my job at Roggenart. Unlike some of my co-workers, I already knew how to use it. HCC has amazing equipment that bakers use in day-to-day life.
“I’ve enjoyed everything about this experience.”