• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Students get right ingredients for new career

January 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Like in any kitchen during the lunchtime rush, cooks at a Riverside school become very busy.They cut mushrooms, roll pizza dough and finish salads before serving exquisite meals in a dining room full of hungry customers.

But the rave reviews they get aren't for master chefs or experienced servers. They're all students at the Riverside Community College culinary arts program.

Like many students at the school, interest in cooking turned into much more when Matthew Eby lost his job as a painter.

"I was laid off for a while, then I came across RCC'S program," Eby said. "Economically, it was the cheapest route to go, compared to other schools that cost $40,000 to $60,000, this one is quite a bit cheaper."

For only about $2,000, Eby is one of many students studying under the watchful eye of a man they call Chef Bobby, the culinary arts director.

"It's not just you pass or fail, they learn something over and over again until they learn it properly," Bob Maghaddam said.

Many of the cooks are hoping to have promising careers, and some already do. Two students have cooked for first lady Michelle Obama.

"Some of them have gotten really good jobs, so this is a good program to have here in Riverside County, especially at a time when so many people are finding new careers," said customer James Gillis.