Several East Texas high schools very well may be prepping the future generation of cooking school students for success in the hospitality industry. According to the Marshall News Messenger, a number of schools in the area have received Gerard Cace grants for the 2014-2015 academic year to help fund culinary training classes as an elective curriculum options for students. The grants, sponsored by the East Texas Restaurant Association, are aimed at providing a specific sort of instruction for high school students. Through pairing traditional classroom curriculum with opportunities for varying types of culinary instruction, as well as real, hands-on workforce experience all prior to graduation, the programs funded by these grants are becoming increasingly popular among students.
This year, Cace grants were awarded to 11 different area high schools, and the programs funded through these donations are expected to directly impact the education of over 85 students. Each of these schools is classified as a Prostart school, meaning that they offer a curriculum approved by the Texas Restaurant Association and are designed to encourage careers in the hospitality and restaurant management industry. The former state chairperson of the association, Cathy Cace, established the grant program three years ago to honor her late husband, Gerard Cace. Mr. Cace passed on in 2012 at the age of 59 after having operated Cace’s Seafood & Steak House in Longview with his wife for decades.
Apparently, his impact has been kept alive through the program. In the kitchen of Hallsville High School, one of the 11 institutions to receive funding from the association this year, sits a plaque honoring Mr. Cace. Delicia Church, the culinary course instructor at Hallsville, explained that the grant money they received last year was used to send two students to a state baking competition. This year, she says, the grant money will be used to purchase a professional caliber oven for the students to use.