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Student chefs show off their skills

Culinary Arts students were all smiles as they displayed their skills during the first “Grand Buffet” since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family and friends gathered to taste savory sandwiches, spicy soups and a variety of cold foods during the Garde Manger (HRI 145) final cooking lab on Oct. 12.

“We are so excited to be here today, demonstrating our skills and gathering as a team,” said Takao Sheridan, TCC student chef. “This class has been a nice mix of difficulty, but more fun in general, especially with the companionship we develop in the kitchens.”

Garde Manger, meaning “keeping to eat” in French, originally referred to a pantry or food storage area. In modern culinary arts, the term refers to the chef who oversees cold food production, including salads and salad dressings, smoked and cured foods, and cold sauces or soups.

“This is the most advanced lab in the Culinary Arts program. This is where students apply the techniques and knowledge they’ve learned, demonstrating artistry and different flavor profiles,” said Chef Deanne Freridge, interim program head and instructor of Culinary Arts.

TCC Culinary Arts students planned, prepared, garnished and presented a variety of cold foods for sampling including sausages, pates, canapes and gourmet sandwiches.

For retired educator Tracey Moore, the class rounds out her catering certificate. Moore, who owns a home-based bakery, chose TCC so she could add catering and savory foods to her menu.

“I love cooking and chose TCC because I knew there were things I could learn here,” she said. “Also, as a breast cancer survivor, I dedicated my food today to honor other survivors and those still affected by the disease.”

Takao added, “This program has given me a great start and prepared me for additional education. I even hope to apprentice in Louisana where they offer Cajun cooking, a favorite Southern style.”

TCC’s Culinary Arts program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission. It is an affordable option for students with classes during the days and evenings. For more information, email or contact the Virtual Student Support Team at or by calling 757-822-1111.

TCC helps student build a new life

Brian Marshall is one of those people who make you smile when you meet him. He’s affable, relatable and full of joy.

And that was on the worst days of his life.

Brian came to Tidewater Community College after losing his business and his home. He was living in his car, hoping to build a new life.

He came across an online ad for TCC while looking for a job.

Brian Marshall received help on TCC’s Norfolk Campus.

“That was the day I stumbled upon the biggest blessing of my life,” he said. “God placed me with the right people at the right time.”

A trained chef with 16 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Brian selected TCC’s Hospitality Management program. He completed his first semester with a 3.8 GPA while homeless and working overnight shifts at 7-Eleven.

“Those were challenging times with very little sleep,” he said. “But the support network I had at TCC made it possible to keep going.”

Early on at TCC, Brian connected with Kyndra Brown with the Open Door Project and Mel Scott with the Student Resource and Empowerment Center (SREC). He calls the pair his dream team.

“Helping students overcome barriers is what makes the job worthwhile,” Brown said. “Brian is a smart, determined student who now has the opportunity to succeed.”

The Open Door Project provides Brian with specialized support services, tutoring and keeps him accountable for his studies.

In addition, Mel at the SREC connected Brian with needed resources and even got him into transitional housing. “Ms. Mel made miracles happen. She opened so many doors and the results have been astonishing,” Brian said.

Even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances, Brian remained positive and upbeat.

Brian has a lot to smile about! He now has a new apartment and is excelling in school.

“If you have a focused mind, you can accomplish anything,” Brian said. “And you have to encourage yourself with positivity every morning whether that’s with uplifting music or listening to your favorite pastor or podcast. You have to keep your mind on higher things.”

During his TCC journey, Brian also received support and mentoring from Thomas Chatman, dean of student support services and Norfolk Campus dean.

He made connections with faculty members, including Peter Kane, the program head for Hospitality Management and Marlo Calloway, who taught his Student Development class. “I did a presentation in her class about where I want to go and what I want to be after TCC. It was very encouraging to take time to look ahead,” Brian said.

Brian is about to start classes for Fall Semester and things are looking up. He has his own apartment and a reliable job cooking in a well-established restaurant.

He hopes one day to open a restaurant venue where he can host events. He also plans to restart his catering business, Stormy Flavorz, and provide in-home chef services, as well as catering for universities and other venues. Right now, however, he is focused on school and earning his degree.

When he walks across the stage to celebrate graduation and receive his degree in 2024, Brian’s mom, Sharon Thompson, will be there to cheer him on. The duo has plans to take a cruise once that milestone is reached.

“I still have my moments when the tears come and I question everything,” he said. “But when I see the progress I’m making and doors opening, I know I’m on the right track. I do my best to learn from my past but look forward to each new day knowing that my faith in God will carry me.”

If you are a current or prospective TCC student and need support, visit the Student Resource and Empowerment Center and the Open Door Project on the TCC website for more information. For additional student support services, contact the Virtual Student Support Team at or call 757-822-1111.

TCC receives grant from TowneBank that will benefit visual, culinary, hospitality and automotive program expansion

The Tidewater Community College Educational Foundation is a recipient of a $500,000 grant from TowneBank. The funds will support the development of the TCC Perry Center for Visual & Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management and the expansion of the Regional Automotive Center (RAC).

The 47,000-square-foot TCC Perry Center will be located in the NEON District at the former site of the Greyhound bus station at Brambleton and Monticello avenues. It will expand TCC’s visual arts education program and train the next generation of chefs by expanding the college’s culinary arts program, including housing a program in restaurant management in Norfolk.

“For 20 years TowneBank has been a gold standard for what a true community leader should strive to be, investing in a wide range of organizations that have helped grow our region’s economy and enhance cultural opportunities,” said TCC President Gregory DeCinque.  “We are honored by TowneBank’s incredibly generous gift to TCC and are humbled by their confidence as we work together to build the next generation in the workforce and educational training opportunities for our local community.”

TCC also recently received a grant of $500,000 over the next five years from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation in support of the new building slated to open in the fall of 2021.

The TowneBank grant will be used to provide challenge grant funds to encourage area automobile dealers to help build the expansion of the RAC, Hampton Roads’ lone high-tech education facility for the automotive, marine and diesel industries.

“Since 1968, Tidewater Community College has been a vital part of the Hampton Roads community. TowneBank is honored to support TCC in its ongoing efforts to provide quality education. We are excited to be a part of TCC’s bright future,” said Morgan Davis, TowneBank president and CEO.

The expansion of the TCC Perry Center and the RAC will largely be funded through private donations raised through Go Further! TCC’s Campaign for a Competitive Workforce. For information about donating, contact Steven Jones, executive director of the TCC Educational Foundation, at

TCC announces major gift for new center coming to the NEON District

Tidewater Community College is the recipient of a  seven-figure donation to support the building of the Patricia & Douglas Perry TCC Center for Visual & Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

President DeCinque announces the naming of the Houston “Hu” Odom Jr. School of Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management.
President DeCinque announces the naming of the Houston “Hu” Odom Jr. School of Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management.

President Gregory DeCinque announced the gift from Houston “Hu” Odom, president and founder of BOTH, Inc., a franchisee of Golden Corral Restaurants, at a news conference Tuesday morning at the TCC Pat & Doug Perry Glass Wheel Studio.  In recognition of his generosity, the college will name its school of Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management for Odom.

Odom’s gift will also be used to provide scholarships for dual enrollment students from Norfolk Public Schools studying restaurant management.

“By creating a pipeline of skilled and trained professional restaurant managers, we are ensuring quality service in our area restaurants for years to come,” said Odom, an award-winning restaurateur, who operates 20 Golden Corrals, plus two in development, with headquarters in Virginia Beach and locations throughout four states. “Partnering with TCC makes good business sense but is also great for our community.

“Very simply, TCC’s new School of Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management is the right idea at the right place at the right time. When my wife, Evie, and I heard about TCC’s plans, we agreed we wanted to become involved to help make those plans become a reality.”

President DeCinque said, “We share a vision to see the next generation of artists, culinary specialists and hospitality managers excel in their work. This is indeed a transformative time for TCC, made possible with partnerships with the City of Norfolk, the Perrys and now our newest benefactor, Mr. Odom.”

The TCC Perry Center, slated to open in 2021, will be a 47,000-square-foot building, located on the site of the former Greyhound bus station. In addition to housing TCC’s academic programs, it will offer dual-enrollment and workforce-training opportunities for area residents.

The center will further energize the NEON District by:

  • Expanding TCC’s one-of-a-kind visual arts education program
  • Training the next generation of chefs with a comprehensive culinary arts program
  • Creating opportunities for collaboration between culinary and visual arts programs
  • Providing five kitchens and a test kitchen open to the community and prospective entrepreneurs
  • Inaugurating a hospitality and restaurant management program in Norfolk
  • Creating a vibrant and inviting dining and arts experience for students, residents and visitors
Mayor Alexander with Evie Odom.
Mayor Alexander with Evie Odom.

“TCC’s new Perry Center is a major economic boost to the growth and expansion of the NEON District as a destination for the arts. For that reason, I am very grateful for Mr. Odom’s support,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander.

Odom’s restaurants consistently hold sales and customer satisfaction rankings in the top tier of the Golden Corral system. In 2001, Golden Corral Corporation adopted his idea of Military Appreciation Night, which serves free steak dinners to all current and former service personnel while raising money for the Disabled American Veterans. Odom first implemented the idea in Hampton Roads in 1999.

Odom is also passionate about giving low-income and disadvantaged students access to education in culinary arts and restaurant management. “A significant portion of my donation to TCC will be used to endow scholarships and other programs to help ensure access to TCC’s new school for students here in Norfolk and in other local communities,” he said.

His gift will benefit dual enrollment students in Norfolk. Dual enrollment allows qualifying high school students to jump-start their college careers by earning college credit.

Hu Odom at the press event on Dec. 18.
Hu Odom at the press event on Dec. 18.

“We are delighted to be able to offer this new career training to our high school students to prepare them well for the workforce,” said Noëlle Gabriel, chair of the Norfolk School Board.

Construction of the Perry Center will be funded entirely by private donations raised through Go Further! TCC’s Campaign for a Competitive Workforce. For more information about the campaign, contact Steven Jones at or call 757-822-1572.

For information about the college’s visual arts, culinary arts and hospitality management programs, contact the enrollment team at

New TCC certificate in restaurant management combines love of food and business

Whether you want to run your own restaurant or manage a popular chain, Tidewater Community College’s new certificate can prepare you for a thriving career.

The Career Studies Certificate in Restaurant Management will be introduced this spring. The 28-credit program combines management and food service instruction in addition to hands-on training in an area restaurant.

Students will study restaurant management; sanitation and safety; recipe and menu management; and hospitality supervision – a range that includes a business background necessary to succeed in this dynamic field.

Students interested in continuing to develop their skills will be able to apply all their credits to TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management.

Many of the classes that fall under the new certificate are only eight weeks in length. Face-to-face and online classes are available.

For information, contact Nancy Prather Johnson, interim dean of business, at or call 757-822-1191.

Make a splash as an event planner with TCC’s new degree and certificate

Tidewater Community College’s newest associate degree and certificate programs cater to budding organizers who love to immerse themselves in the behind-the-scenes details of event planning.

Starting Fall Semester 2018, the college will offer an Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management with a Specialization in Event Planning and a 28-credit Career Studies Certificate in Event Planning. All of the credits from the certificate can be applied to the associate degree.

The new offerings come at a time when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the need for event planners to grow by 15 percent in Virginia between 2014 and 2024.

 “This versatile new program will prepare graduates to work in a range of industries from hotels to corporations to nonprofits to government,” said Peter Kane, head of TCC’s Hospitality Management program. “At TCC, students will receive the hands-on training of how to successfully execute everything from a board meeting to a wedding to an exhibition.”

Coursework will focus on working with vendors and venues, financial management and all aspects of logistics. Students must complete a coordinated internship during their final semester.

Day, evening and online classes will be offered, and financial aid is available. All core requirements must be completed on TCC’s Virginia Beach Campus.

Students can get a head start on program requirements by registering for summer classes, which start May 21. Fall classes begin Aug. 20.

TCC also offers separate associate degrees and career studies certificates in both hospitality management and food service management.

For information about event planning, hospitality management or restaurant management, contact Kane at or 757-822-7173.