Chef Christina Perrington – Culinary Educator, The Art Institute San Antonio
My philosophy is “one person can make a difference,” and I have incorporated this in my personal as well as professional life. I am strongly committed to the education and mentoring of individuals pursuing culinary careers and work hard to instill confidence and competence in others. Some would say I have high standards, but I believe anything worth doing is worth doing well. I have always taken advantage of and been grateful for every opportunity that has come my way. I have traveled worldwide and with each land and culture that I’ve been exposed to I have learned a great deal. In fact, I would say that I am always learning.
Within and beyond my career I am very involved in volunteering and giving back – not only in the culinary community but to our city of San Antonio and the State of Texas.
I was born in Aurora, Colorado to a military family. I have lived in many different places including, Germany, Panama, Hawaii, Florida and of course, Texas. My stepmother is Vietnamese so I developed a love for Asian cultures early in my life. I started in the food industry at 15; little did I know this would become not just a vocation but, an avocation.
At the age of 18, I wanted to see the world, so I traveled my way through Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines and Korea. When I was 23, I joined the Army as a Food Service Specialist. During my years of service I competed in several culinary competitions. I also served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. It was at this point that I learned my philosophy on life, “One person can make a difference,” and food became a way for me to make a difference.
Given this new found passion, I left the Army to continue my education in the culinary arts. I earned my AAS in Food Service Management and Hotel Motel Management from Central Texas College. I received a scholarship from Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Florida where I excelled and received an AAS in Culinary Arts. While working on my internship, I had the privilege of working under Chef Allen Susser. I immediately went on to complete my BS in Hospitality Management at Florida International University. As I was completing my education, I had the honor of working for many great chefs in restaurants and country clubs around Miami and Coral Gables. One such time was with Chef Norman Van Akin in the opening of his second restaurant.
I took all of my education and experiences that I gained in Florida and brought them to San Antonio where my family resides. San Antonio has been my most rewarding experience. I have had the opportunity to compete and medal in some of this State’s well-regarded competitions: The Taste of San Antonio (four out of five years as the only woman), Southwest Food Expo (last five years), Taste of Elegance (last 4 years) and a variety of other recognized competitions. The last several years I have assisted in judging Skills USA and Prostart High School student competitions.
I have had the privilege of being the Culinary Chair for the City South Festival for the last 5 years. We raise scholarship monies for San Antonio high school students, and then organize a student competition where we award the scholarship funds. I have had the honor of mentoring high school students in the start of their culinary careers. I have created and coached high school culinary teams and taken them to competitions at the Southwest Food Expo for the last several years where they have medaled.
As a result of these experiences, I feel that it is part of my responsibility as a chef to help mentor our future generation of food service professionals. I am now a Culinary Instructor at the Art Institute of San Antonio. I have had the honor of constructing and instructing our culinary program’s first team for a culinary competition in Dallas, Texas which resulted 3 out of 6 students medaling. One of these students won the best of show out of 26 competitors. I have just recently joined the Chefs Move to Schools program and have adopted Judson ISD and will soon adopt Shirtz ISD.
During hurricane Gustav I led a disaster feeding team of six chefs to Lafayette, Louisiana and cooked meals for the hurricane victims for seven days in the American Red Cross kitchen trailer, Henry. We feed 60,000 plus meals in the seven days. Several weeks later hurricane Ike hit the Texas coast and I led another team for several days in Silsbee, Texas in the kitchen trailer, Spirit of America.
I am an ACF (American Culinary Federation) Certified Executive Chef, CEC, Treasurer for the San Antonio Chapter of the Texas Chefs Association of the ACF, Culinary Chair for the City South Festival and was on the Board of Directors of the Texas Restaurant Associations Education Foundation 2009-2011. I was voted Chapter Chef of the Year in 2007 and 2011 for the San Antonio Chapter of the Texas Chefs Association.
School: The Art Institute of San Antonio – San Antonio, TX
Position: Culinary Educator