On last night’s Cooking Channel season premiere episode of "The Freshman Class: Santa Cruz," viewers were introduced to the four key members of the class of the Cabrillo College Culinary Arts and Hospitality program.
As the class begins, the four featured students meet Chef Eric Carter, the Director of the program. Here they will receive hands-on training, as their classroom is a restaurant.
Gabriel is 22, and lives at home with his mother, stepfather, his girlfriend and their son 8-month-old son. A former gang-banger, he spent a year in jail for being involved in robbery. Now he is changing his life, as outside forces continue to tempt him.
Amalia is 35, and a married mother of four young children with a dream to have her own bakery. Now she asks a lot of her kids, who she will no longer be there for each minute of their lives as in the past.
Jim is 53, and has seen much in his life, including the good and bad. Now living in his van, he is seen shaving and brushing his teeth prior to his first day of culinary school. After having a successful landscaping business, he broke his back, and without insurance has gone through his savings. Through the help of financial aid, he is hoping to again be successful.
Kim is 50, and after putting her aspirations on hold, she lives a comfortable life with her husband Steve. Kim attended culinary school 20 years ago, but left to be Steve’s full-time wife. Now her life needs more challenge than with no children, to tend to Steve’s every need.
Chef Sue Slater welcomes the class to the catering lab. They will be doing catering for real clients. Tomorrow they will do a wedding for 160 people and jump right in. Gabriel is assigned as dishwasher; Amalia is put on bread since she is a baker, Jim is in general service in the kitchen and Kim will be on the front-end doing the service.
Gabe was shown how to use the dishwashing equipment, and the other chefs were directed to their assignment. Chef Hector Quiroz showed the service people how to set a table and fold napkins properly. When they were dismissed, they were told to return tomorrow at noon for an eleven-hour day.
The next day, Gabe was half an hour late; Amalia received her instructions regarding the bread; Jim will cut up fruit. When a piece meant for the trash accidentally went into the good fruit, he had to remove it and everything around it. As his work progressed, his back started bothering him badly and he left after five hours. The service proceeded and at the end; they were all complimented for a good job and would receive their grades in a week.
Second week of the twenty-two-week semester, the grades were handed out. Amalia received a B, Gabe got a C, Kim got a B-, and Jim got an F. Jim walked out and intends to give this woman a piece of his mind. He received 33 out of 100. When he went to her office, he stated that there was no reflection of him in the critique. She told him he was only there half the day, and because she has no paperwork confirming his disability, she must have documentation. As they continued to talk over each other, he asked why her personality conflicts with him and told her from the minute they met, he felt her vibration and knew they were not going to get along. She told him she treated everyone fairly, and they shook hands as she went to her next class. Now Jim questions his choice of attending Cabrillo.