Bullard Has Passion
For Cooking and Passion for Mercer
Windsor, N.J. - When MCCC alumnus Ketlinado (Johnny) Bullard
'10 (A.A.S, Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management-
HRIM) arrived in New Jersey in 2008 from Nassau, Bahamas,
he had a plan. Having worked in the hospitality industry since
the age of 18, he was ready to get serious about cooking and
the hotel business. The now 26-year-old decided it was time
to pursue formal training in a college setting.
"Cooking is one thing, but knowing the theory behind
it and the right methods makes a difference. It gives you
more confidence and a sense of pride," Bullard says.
"People ask questions about why you do things the way
you do. When you have an education, you can give an educated
Graduating with honors from MCCC's HRIM program in May, 2010,
Bullard took advantage of every learning opportunity available
during his time at Mercer. He served a year-long term as president
of the Hospitality Club just one semester into his studies,
leading a group of dedicated HRIM volunteers who provided
food service for college gatherings, catered off-campus charitable
events, and baked hundreds of pies for sale at Thanksgiving.
He also assisted noncredit instructors at the Culinary Center
with preparation and teaching for a host of community classes.
According to Bullard, he got just the foundation he needed
at Mercer. "The program is very good. I always recommend
it. I say, 'Get started at Mercer, because it's a great start.'"
He notes that his professors "love what they do. You
must love what you do. Otherwise you are wasting your time
and your clients' time."
(Johnny) Bullard '10
Bullard possesses that same kind of passion for the culinary field.
These days, he is still on campus, preparing enticing menu items
and providing top service at the MCCC cafeteria. Hired as a sous
chef last year, Bullard is doing a great job handling all serving
stations in the cafeteria and working banquets at the MCCC Conference
Center, according to Chef Joe Chell. Twice Bullard has stepped in
temporarily to serve as assistant manager in the cafeteria, giving
him practical, hands-on experience in the business end of the field,
including menu preparation and food and supply ordering under the
direction of Chell and Manager Jackie Dunn.
"Johnny is very reliable, always on time. I see him growing
each week, taking on more and more. I think he will be very successful,"
Bullard typically starts his work days at 6:30 a.m. and finishes
up in the early to mid-afternoon with the preparation of packaged
meals for on-the-go evening students. He says he is delighted that
customer numbers have gone up more than 20 percent in the past year.
"We welcome customer feedback, even if it's criticism,"
Bullard says. "That's the way we will improve our service and
get to know what customers want."
Newer menu offerings have proven extremely popular, including Wednesday's
Mongolian Grill, where customers select beef, chicken or shrimp
and then add their own fixings, Buffalo chicken, personalized pizzas,
panini and a wing bar. The cafeteria is also emphasizing additional
healthy and vegetarian options. "We strive to serve what our
customers are looking for," Bullard says.
According to Bullard, he is not finished with his formal education.
Like one of his former professors, Frank Benowitz, he plans to complete
the Fairleigh Dickinson bachelor's degree program in Hospitality
Management offered on the Mercer campus.
Eventually, Bullard would like to open his own restaurant, for "those
who have been or dream of going to the Caribbean," he says.
The restaurant will feature the tastes he was raised on -- traditional
island cuisine featuring seafood, coconut, and tropical fruits like
pineapple and mango.
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