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November 2016

November 2016 

  Elective Showcases Korean Culture

At Hilton College, we bring the world to the classroom, but what about bringing the classroom to the world? Our new elective – Korean Food, Culture and Tourism – does both! The brainchild of Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies Dr. Ki-Joon Back, the class aims to raise awareness about the uniqueness of Korean food and culture, the diverse needs of the global customer, and the trends in Korean hospitality and tourism. Because a big part of this class focuses on Korean cuisine, Dr. Back worked with the Korean Food Foundation and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Houston to bring lecturer Chef Gloryvee Ramos to Seoul for eight days last July to learn firsthand from Korean culinary masters. For the past five weeks, she has been sharing her knowledge in the Foods I kitchen with the 24 juniors, seniors and master’s students currently enrolled in the class. At the end of this semester, these students will then share their classroom experience with the community through a choice between two group projects. One option is a presentation to Korean government officials about how to effectively promote Korea as a tourism destination. The second is a marketing plan to help the city’s Korean restauranteurs grow their businesses. “Our students will help educate restaurant owners about food safety, how to attract mainstream customers and how to stay competitive,” Dr. Back said. Furthermore, this class could inspire students to work abroad or to open their own Korean restaurants. It’s all part of the bigger picture, said Dr. Back, who has a vision to make students from Hilton College assets to any business – in Houston and around the world. Beyond this elective, Dr. Back has also partnered with the Korean Consulate to offer a free Korean language class that was offered to faculty, students and staff at the start of the semester. And this is just the beginning, he said, as he plans to expand the program to include other cultures and cuisines. After all, hospitality is the world’s No. 1 employer, and when it comes to opportunities in the areas of food, culture and tourism, there are no limits! (Photos: Pearl Cajoles)


  Alamo Showdown Cook-Off a Tasty Success

With more than 350 people in attendance, tripling last year’s numbers, the Alamo Showdown Cook-Off has officially helped put Hilton College-San Antonio on the map – and raise money for scholarships! A team of student managers and volunteers from our San Antonio campus planned the event from start to finish, working for almost a year on logistics and marketing before the big day. The Cook-Off took place Nov. 13 at the Alamo Beer Company, where eight of the city’s best chefs provided unlimited samples of their tasty creations! The only requirements? Make each recipe in one pot and with Alamo Beer, the event’s main sponsor and a steadfast supporter of our San Antonio campus since it opened its doors in 2015. The top contenders were: Take 5 Pasta, Chef Albert Bafford (first place); Rio Rio Cantina, Chefs Raul Mendoza, Mark Ledon and Isidro Huerta (second place­); and Hyatt Regency, Chef Todd Guttendorf (third place). “This event is the beginning of what we plan to be a long tradition, just as Gourmet Night and the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor are for the Houston campus,” said Dr. Nathan Jarvis, clinical assistant professor at Hilton College-San Antonio. “As we move forward, the event will become the primary focus of our capstone class so that it remains student-run. This will provide invaluable experience for our students and give them an opportunity to shine where current and future employers can see their talent.” We can’t wait to see what our colleagues and partners in San Antonio cook up next year – all in the name of advancing opportunities for our students at our fast-growing campus in the Alamo City! Cheers to all involved! (Photos: courtesy of Hilton College-San Antonio)


  ESD Presents Fantastic Show of Diversity

Members of the Eta Sigma Delta Cougar Chapter, with guidance from faculty advisor Dr. Priyanko Guchait, took more than 350 guests on an exciting trip around the world during last week’s first ever ESD Induction Ceremony and International Fashion Show. The event, held Nov. 10 in the Conrad Hilton Grand Ballroom, began with a sampling of international cuisine, courtesy of our generous restaurant sponsors. Guests then took their seats around the runway for the much anticipated fashion show, where student models donned colorful traditional attire to represent more than 20 countries from around the globe. After a short intermission came the most important part of the evening – Dr. Guchait called to the stage the inductees to receive their cords and to recite their pledge as official members of ESD. A record number of 91 students, now part of this acclaimed international hospitality honor society, will have access to networking opportunities with countless hospitality professionals and employers worldwide. The night ended with cultural dance presentations from the Indian Culture Center, the Vietnamese Student Association and the Institute of Hispanic Culture. Our students represent more than 54 countries, and this event was truly an exciting reflection and a celebration of the cultural diversity that is Hilton College. “I am very proud of all the ESD officers and volunteers who went above and beyond to make this event so successful,” Dr. Guchait said. “Also, this night would not have been possible without the support of the College and our industry partners. Congratulations to all the new inductees – you make us proud!” Well done, ESD and Dr. G! We look forward to another journey around the world next year! (Photos: Pearl Cajoles)


  Eric’s Club Lecturer Credits Hospitality for Success

A degree in hospitality can definitely take you anywhere you want to go. Just ask Eric’s Club member Marsha Hendler (’73), president and CEO of TerraFina Energy, LLC. Marsha recently “returned home” to Hilton College as the featured lecturer for the 31st Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair Alumni Series, held Nov. 10 in Alumni Hall. During her lecture, Marsha talked about the importance of seizing opportunity and the value of a hospitality education. In all phases of her career, which has included fast food, hotel operations, public relations and most recently oil and gas, Marsha said she has always been a better businesswoman because of everything she learned at Hilton College. For example, as an oil and gas operator, she is more service oriented in dealing with clients and investors; her catering and event planning skills have made her a superior project manager; and her ability to assess profitability helps her evaluate the feasibility of drilling projects. After her lecture, Bob Planck (’71), current chairman, presented Marsha with her very own Eric’s Club chair. Marsha and her Eric’s Club colleagues (pictured) then converged at the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom for breakout Q&A sessions with students. Her advice to those who approached her table? “Always take the interview. You can be anything you want to be. Dream. Don’t think anything is impossible,” she said. “I never thought I would be where I am, and TerraFina is quickly becoming one of the largest, woman-owned, independent companies in Texas. You just never know where life is going to take you. But play your hunch, follow those paths and let your career take you places.” And how does Marsha feel about the opportunity to address and inspire students as an Eric’s Club member and lecturer? “It’s a greater honor than I ever expected. I spent many years away from the University, and since reconnecting with Hilton College, being back means so much to me.” (Photo: Pearl Cajoles)


  Hilton College Seniors Honored at HOP Gala

Two outstanding seniors brought home awards during the 12th Annual Hospitality on Parade (HOP) Gala, held Oct. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Houston. The event, sponsored by the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston, has grown to become Houston’s premier hospitality gathering and is a showcase for recognizing the best in the industry, as well as lodging students at Hilton College. Regina Riojas (right) received the Student of the Year Award, while Riley Rundquist received the Outstanding Lodging Student Award. Students are nominated for these awards and recipients are selected based on character, integrity, industry experience, academic achievements, contributions to the College, and participation in College organizations and activities. Regina, who currently works as a part-time associate at the Hyatt Regency Houston Galleria, has served as an officer for the H&LAGH-UH Chapter. She’s also a Conrad N. Hilton College Ambassador, a founding member of the UH Sigma Kappa Chapter, and is secretary for Eta Sigma Delta. And, she served as marketing manager for this year’s Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor. Regina plans to pursue revenue management after graduation. Riley works at the Four Seasons Hotel Houston as a front desk associate. After graduation, he would like to transition into human resources. Riley currently serves as president of the H&LAGH-UH Chapter, and is a past vice president of the student-run organization. “I cherish this award because it is recognition for my dedication to our school and to this industry.” Way to represent the HC, Regina and Riley! (Photo: courtesy of Regina Riojas)