Published On: Thu, Mar 20th, 2014

Eliada culinary students tour Harrah’s Cherokee

Students enrolled in Eliada School of Trade Arts (ESTA) in Asheville recently toured Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort’s foot outlets and talked with the property’s chefs about career opportunities.

The ESTA culinary students were welcomed to Harrah’s Cherokee with lunch at Selu Garden Café, along with a tour of Chefs Stage Buffet and Brio Tuscan Grille. Harrah’s Cherokee chefs from each restaurant greeted students and gave them advice about the education and skills necessary to become successful in the food industry.

“Harrah’s Cherokee is delighted to host this group of students and show them the many career paths here,” Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort community relations manager Craig Day said. “Eliada is one of our community partners, and we hope to support the ESTA program as it continues to grow and evolve to include more programs.”

The students enrolled in the ESTA program come from diverse backgrounds. Donnell McGann, a second year ESTA student, has been in the N.C. Department of Social Services program for the past 14 years. He will graduate from the ESTA program this summer with an associate degree in culinary technology from Asheville Buncombe Technical College.

“After going through this program, I now see that my dreams are within reach,” McGann said. “My ultimate goal is to attend ECU and earn a degree in the science field. I plan on using my culinary skills I gained at ETSA to pay for my education.”

The ESTA program works to improve the outcomes of children exiting the N.C. foster care system. Many children in foster care have been subject to turbulent upbringings while being shuffled between foster homes. This background often leads these youth unequipped and overwhelmed by the prospect of independent life. Since ESTA’s inception more than two years ago, each of its program graduates has found employment.

“I hope that our culinary students see the vast array of opportunities available to them,” Chef Donna McCrain, food service manager for Eliada said. “The sky is the limit for these students, and I hope they can find a job they love in the food service industry.”

The services of ESTA serve as a transition for boys from long-term foster care to independence by offering vocational activities like cooking, academic studies, character development as well as a support network to provide tools for the participants to be successful. For more information, visit www.eliada.org

– Harrah’s Cherokee

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