By Brett Ashley Hawkins
After 22 years of teaching for Long Beach Unified School District’s (LBUSD) culinary arts Regional Occupational Program (ROP), chef Monica Morgan six weeks ago opened her own cooking class center– Culinary Enterprises at 937 E. 27th St. in Signal Hill. Morgan, a Seal Beach resident, aims to help her students achieve success at cooking techniques that provide an accessible, affordable, healthy, and organic lifestyle.
Culinary Enterprises’ roster of classes includes a juniors course (for junior-high students), a vegetarian class, a farmers market course, a couples cooking seminar, and several more classes for different food genres and demographics. Each class comes with five sessions broken into breakfast, lunch, dinner, baking and desserts.
The couples cooking class offers different themes for each session, such as how to put together a picnic or dinner and a movie. “People can come [as] a couple, bring a bottle of wine, and enjoy themselves in this comfortable and inviting facility,” said Kenia Shelton, a former student of Morgan’s who is now independently contracted by Culinary Enterprises to give cooking demon-
strations that emphasize appetizers and desserts. “[Shelton] brings different ideas to the table in her demonstrations,” said Morgan. “Her dishes are cutting-edge with eye-appealing artistic presentation.”
Sybil Davis, another former student of Morgan’s, instructs a course for up-and-coming caterers. Davis’s classes help her students to license their business, establish a prototype food product and to package it, cost it out, and market it.
With the help of assistant Renato Batuhan, Culinary Enterprises has successfully promoted their classes at Taste of the Coast, the Anaheim White House Bridal Show, and the Long Beach Street Food Festival. Morgan was quite pleased with the interest from hundreds of possible future students that those events provided.
Morgan assures prospective students that her classes will enrich them since cooking techniques are emphasized over the recipes themselves. In addition, the recipes offered for each class feature experimental ideas such as the one in her couples cooking class last Friday– the stovetop chocolate cake baked by students involved zucchini as an ingredient.
Morgan’s culinary résumé includes a bachelor’s degree in food science, culinary training in France, and pastry cooking at the Florida Culinary Institute. Morgan also fronted her own catering company for nine years– Breakfast by Design. In her time as an ROP instructor for LBUSD, Morgan taught students culinary skills and then aided them with internship opportunities at restaurants and hotels. On starting her own company, Morgan said, “this company is straight from my heart. I feel like I’ve been let out of a cage and now have the freedom I always wanted.”
Morgan also hopes to inspire her students through her classes. “My other goal is to promote women in business to possibly pursue culinary-related careers or to find a culinary angle at their current career,” she said.
Culinary Enterprises’ cooking classes cost $175 for five classes. Students are encouraged to choose classes that interest them most and do not have to be consistent (combinations such as three couples cooking classes and two vegetarian classes are allowed). The company also offers sanitization certification. For more information, call (562) 427-2118 or visit foodiscool.com.