Chefs Honored, Certified

Chef Carla Derakshan, left, earned a credential as a certified working pastry chef from the American Culinary Federation. Chef Ted Hirschi, right, was honored by the ACF’s Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis with the Oliver H. Sommer Mentor Award. The award is presented annually to a chef who exhibits a passion for mentoring fellow culinary artists and junior association members.    Submitted Photo.


Several faculty members in the East Central College culinary arts program were recognized for recent achievements.

Chef Ted Hirschi, assistant professor and coordinator of ECC’s culinary arts program, was honored by the American Culinary Federation’s Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis at a dinner gala in November.

Hirschi received the Oliver H. Sommer Mentor Award which is presented annually to an association member who best exemplifies the passion for mentoring fellow culinary artists and junior association members.

A faculty member at ECC since 1993, Hirschi is a certified executive chef and certified culinary educator. He also is a recognized foodservice management professional by the National Restaurant Association.

“This is an affirmation by the association that East Central College is making a difference in culinary education in the St. Louis region,” Hirschi said. Over the years the St. Louis region of the Chefs de Cuisine Association has grown to include seven culinary programs.

Hirschi is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, who continued his education in Missouri. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Maryville University and earned a master’s in business administration from Fontbonne University.

Chef Carla Derakshan, a culinary instructor at ECC for the past five years, recently earned American Culinary Federation credentials certifying her as a working pastry chef.

In addition to passing a written test, Derakshan also completed a rigorous four-hour practical exam monitored by three evaluators.

Derakshan worked in the entertainment industry for 10 years and the foodservice industry for almost 20. She owned and operated a restaurant in the Washington area for 13 years prior to teaching full time at ECC.

A graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Derakshan holds a bachelor’s degree in theater and mass communications from the University of Denver as well as an associate of arts degree in theater from ECC.

The American Culinary Federation’s certification program establishes standards and testing for different levels and areas of the culinary industry. Darline Enlo and Gail Witt, instructional assistants in the culinary program, also became certified culinarians.

ECC’s culinary arts program is accredited through the Accreditation Commission of the Educational Foundation for the American Culinary Federation and is recognized as an exemplary program by the ACF.

Culinary Arts is one of 30 technical education programs offered through ECC. Students can pursue an associate of applied science degree or a certificate of achievement.

Curriculum centers on hands-on learning in a professional culinary kitchen with a bakeshop and cold room.