Carmel Magazine

CM Winter 2016 Issue

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Page 163 of 227

The Rancho Cielo Culinary Roundup on Feb. 21 is the school's major fundraiser and awareness event, where students like Valarie Chavez (top left) prepare a dinner with chefs such as Bert Cutino (lower left). The night also features auction prizes. 162 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 6 Vocational Center, which will house Rancho Cielo's new agribusiness programs. As part of the facility's Drummond Culinary Academy, Mayra Lopez has cooked with respected Monterey County chefs and served guests at several high profile local events. Under the direction of Rancho Cielo Executive Chef Patrick Hendon, who stepped in after longtime culinary director Paul Lee's recent retirement, she also works in the academy's on-site restau- rant. The popular dining room opens to the public on Friday nights during the academic year, and students prepare and serve the three- course, pre-fixe meals. Lopez completes her culinary coursework in June, and she's currently exploring job opportu- nities that wouldn't have been available without her academic and personal support system. "Rancho Cielo has been very helpful for peo- ple like my brother and me. It definitely has changed our lives," she says.

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