Stephen F. Austin State University

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New outdoor kitchen expanding SFA's hospitality administration program

September 14, 2015 - University Marketing Communications
Chef Todd Barrios, Stephen F. Austin State University's hospitality administration clinical instructor, is looking forward to the opportunities the program's new outdoor kitchen will provide SFA students who are preparing for careers in the hospitality industry. The outdoor kitchen is equipped with two grills, two refrigerators, burners, an outdoor sink and a pizza oven. The outdoor kitchen is located behind the Culinary Café on SFA's campus.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's hospitality administration program is heating things up with a new outdoor kitchen equipped with two grills, two refrigerators, burners, an outdoor sink and a pizza oven.

All of the outdoor kitchen equipment is transportable and has self-contained preparation and cooking stations. The outdoor kitchen is located behind the Culinary Café on SFA's campus.

Dr. Chay Runnels, hospitality administration program coordinator and graduate program coordinator, boasts the many opportunities this new equipment will offer students.

"We are really trying to push our students' comfort level and let them think bigger," Runnels said. "We are always sitting around dreaming, hoping we can expand our program and reach, and I think this equipment helps us do that."

The new equipment will enable Chef Todd Barrios, clinical instructor, to teach students new cooking techniques. For example, the iron plate burner set will be used to teach pan searing, blackening and sautéing techniques. The state-of-the-art grills have infrared burners for the rotisserie, which is a technique students may be unfamiliar with. Students also will learn to cook with a convection oven by using the new pizza oven.

"Our main focus is to give SFA students opportunities to learn something different as well as offer additional opportunities for hosting events for our student organizations," Barrios said.

Runnels said tickets for the Culinary Café sold out in 53 minutes this semester; moreover, the program is looking for additional ways to showcase the students' abilities to a wider audience with the outdoor kitchen.

"We want to use the space as much as we can, and we have a lot of students who aspire to become event planners and want to be able to utilize their skills," Runnels said. "The outdoor kitchen is another way for students to learn about equipment they can use in real life."

For more information, contact Runnels at runnelsc@sfasu.edu.