Baked to perfection: Culinary program brings sweet success to Delta

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What started as a single table in the quad, has developed into a weekly six-hour event showcasing the talents of culinary arts students.

The weekly bake sale, for example, started with little church-like sales from table in the quad.

The profit margin was once $500, according to Pastry Head Chef Robert Halabicky, a professor of culinary arts, who has been teaching at Delta for 15 years.

Now the group makes around $5,000 a week.

Profits from the sale pay for field trips for students.

Halabicky said about 800-1000 people come to the bake sale each week it runs. The students ended the run for the fall semester last week with a special before Thanksgiving sale.

Students in the culinary program come in and volunteer for the bake sale.

“This is my first experience in retail bakery. It’s been really wonderful … I’m learning how to be friendly and customer service and that’s super important,” said Christina Hilliary, a student in the program.

The students come in Tuesday and Wednesday
to prepare.

Thursday mornings, half the class comes in at 2 a.m. to finish baking and decorating.

The rest of the class comes in at 5 a.m. to set up and put out all the food.

Students market, display, sell and wait on customers.

The Thanksgiving bake sale, which happened Wednesday, Nov. 23, is the only bake sale that takes preorders. Different pies, breads, pastries, rolls and cakes were sold.

Students involved say the program is beneficial.

Resty Albeza, who has been in the program for three semesters, descibes the culinary program as a family. “All of us students, we get close.”

Others involved say that the program offers more than just an education.

“Chef has been a really great motivator, makes us work really hard and has really helped us become more organized for this bakery. If we need help we ask each other, we work really well together and with each other and other students and with Chef and we will become successful because of this experience,” said student Guadalupe Lobato.

The students aren’t the only ones enjoying the experience.

Chef Halabicky, who Albeza describes as a “really cool and fun chef” expresses his feelings as well.

“I really enjoy coming in here and working with these guys,” said Halabicky. “It gets pretty crazy sometimes … I really love it.”

No matter how demanding the job is, no matter how early everyone has to arrive, the students in the program love what they do, and they wouldn’t want to do anything else.

“If you have questions about joining the program and you like to bake, I’d say do it. Cause I felt the same way. I tried it and at the end of the day, I still go home happy. It’s hard work, it’s not easy. It’s fun for me and that’s why I keep coming, and I still want to do this for the rest of my life.” said Victor Najij, who is a trusted student of Chef Halabicky and volunteers at the bake sales.