March 30, 2017 – On April 6, 2017 San Diego Mesa College is celebrating the grand opening of the newest building on the Mesa Campus – the Mesa Commons with the “Taste of Mesa,” a fundraiser benefiting the Culinary Arts Management Program. One of the premier Culinary Arts programs in California’s Community College System.
San Diego Mesa College is a public, two year community college located in the community of Clairemont Mesa in the City of San Diego, California. San Diego Mesa College first opened in 1964. Initially offering education to 1,800 students, it has grown to become one of the largest community colleges in California. The college is known informally as Mesa College or Mesa.
The new 73,000-square-foot Mesa Commons was built at a cost of $44.3 million. The Commons houses two cafeterias, a convenience store, coffee café, the Culinary Arts Management Program with student culinary labs, classrooms, student-run M Fusion Dining Café, and faculty and student lounge spaces.
Mesa Commons is the first building on campus to house a group of cisterns that provide 100 percent of the site’s irrigation needs through reclaimed refrigeration condensate water and collected rain water. The organic roof garden is also a first for the campus. Used by the Culinary Arts Management department and fed by reclaimed water, the garden provides produce used in the building’s student-run café. Multiple solar chimneys, radiant floor heating/cooling, and a substantial solar thermal array all make this building a model for energy efficiency.
Students in Culinary Arts/Culinary Management enjoy practical hands-on approach to innovative methods and classical techniques, as well as numerous cuisines. A rigorous training program combines both laboratory and general education coursework, in addition to business courses including supervision and cost control. Graduates of this rigorous program are well-prepared, with nearly 100% finding jobs within the industry. Many have gone on to be successful chefs, managers, caterers and owners.
A key to the success of the program and its new facility is the dedicated team of professors, Associate Professors Tonya Whitfield and Brian Lesson, and Professor Michael Fitzgerald with their unique ability to expose students to the intricacies of the culinary world, a feature very few programs are able to provide.