Dona Ana Community College is home to the Premier Culinary Institute of New Mexico, where aspiring chefs can turn their passion for food into a successful career. In a recent interview, senior instructor Chef Tom Drake shed light on the renowned culinary program and its remarkable achievements.

Chef Tom Drake humbly credits his students for the delectable dishes that have delighted palates. The program has consistently produced talented individuals who are ready to make their mark in the culinary world. The journey begins with a two-year program, starting in August, leading to an Associates of Occupational Science degree in culinary arts. The success rate of the program is outstanding, with graduates finding placements in exceptional establishments both nationally and internationally.

The program’s rigorous curriculum begins with the fundamentals lab, where students are equipped with the essential skills needed in the culinary industry. Chef Tom, himself an experienced instructor, brings a unique perspective to the classroom, fueled by his lifelong passion for travel and food. His revelation of the vibrant food culture in Ismir, Turkey, during his youth opened his eyes to the richness of flavors and the communal experience of dining. This revelation propelled him towards culinary school, setting him on a path that has taken him from intimate dining rooms to catering events serving a staggering 25,000 plates.

Chef Tom emphasizes the importance of time management and organization as key traits for a successful chef. Time, he asserts, is a non-negotiable ingredient that cannot be tampered with. Students learn to navigate the pressure and constraints of the clock during practical exams, where they must complete complex dishes within limited timeframes.

The Premier Culinary Institute of New Mexico covers the entire culinary spectrum, starting from the basics. As an example, Chef Tom demonstrates the simplicity of making macaroni and cheese with just three ingredients: macaroni, condensed milk, and cheese. The program excels in providing hands-on training and boasts an impressive facility that is sure to impress prospective students.

Chef Tom encourages aspiring chefs, even those from El Paso, to explore the culinary program at Dona Ana Community College. With its easy commute and exceptional educational environment, the program offers a first-class culinary education. Interested individuals can visit the program’s website,, for comprehensive information about enrollment, curriculum details, and the history of the program.

In conclusion, the Premier Culinary Institute of New Mexico stands as a premier institution for budding chefs, fostering their passion for food and preparing them for successful culinary careers. With experienced instructors like Chef Tom Drake and a comprehensive curriculum, this culinary program provides the perfect foundation for aspiring chefs to embark on a flavorful journey in the culinary world.