Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College sponsored by IP Casino, Resort & Spa
Chef Lori Pearce
Chef Lori Vrazel Pearce grew up in commercial kitchens. Her father owned a restaurant that she began working in when she was twelve-years-old. This job created in her a passion and strong work ethic that translated well into her Baking and Pastry/Culinary career.
Chef Pearce went on to attend the notorious Culinary Institute of America where she graduated in 2003 at the top of her class. While in school, she acted as the pastry chef in the CIA’s American Bounty Restaurant. Upon graduation, Pearce continued her career at the Ritz Carlton, Boston Common where she stayed moving up the ranks until tragedy struck the Gulf Coast.
After hurricane Katrina, Chef Pearce felt compelled to move back to Mississippi to help her family rebuild their restaurant. Around this time, she began to enter into pastry competitions that would later be the door that lead her to teaching. While competing was initially done to help fine-tune her skills, the competitions soon made her name known and MGCCC came calling. They wanted her to teach what she knew to their students.
Teaching became a new passion for Pearce and she developed a Baking and Pastry Program for the state of Mississippi that she now teaches at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at the Jefferson Davis Campus.
Chef Todd Reilly
Chef Todd Reilly is the Program Lead for the Culinary Arts program at MGCCC in Gulfport Mississippi. He received his Associates of Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Blue in Orlando Florida. While in school in Orlando Todd worked at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando. Once he completed his schooling, Chef Todd took a position as Executive Chef of Cotton Boll Catering in Memphis TN. Chef Todd moved back to his hometown, of Gulfport MS, in 2009. There, he took a position helping his Uncle open and operate a small diner in Saucier MS. Feeling the need to get back to his passion Todd left the diner and joined the Naomi’s Catering team as the Executive Chef. After 2 years with Naomi’s, Chef Todd was asked to join the MGCCC staff as a part time instructor. It was during this time that he discovered his true calling. As the program grew, MGCCC approached Todd to take over as the full time lead instructor in January of 2013. Under his Guidance the program has blossomed from 65 enrolled students to well over 200. Todd currently lives in Gulfport MS with his beautiful wife, Melanie and son, Owen. Todd serves on the MHRA GCC board of directors as well as the board of the ACF gulf coast chapter.
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