Fox11 photo with Culinary students and instructor

Moraine Park Technical College culinary students Paul Oosterhouse and Cherie Becker were featured on FOX 11’s “Good Day Wisconsin” on Easter Morning, preparing  frittata, biscuits and lemon meringue pies.

Take a look at the video! They did an amazing job!

What’s also amazing, though, are the journeys these students have been on that has led them to the Moraine Park culinary program.

Here’s a bit more about Paul and Cherie, why they came to Moraine Park, and their thoughts on the pressures of appearing on TV …

First up, important stuff! What’s your favorite foods – both to eat, and to make in the kitchen?!

CHERIE: Favorite food to eat is Teriyaki Beef and vegetables. Favorite thing to make is any kind of cakes or pies!

PAUL: Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I love everything about breakfast, especially bacon and eggs with crispy homemade hash browns.  One of my favorite menu items to prepare would be homemade rolls.  It’s chemistry in the kitchen, watching these ingredients come together to create such a warm and wonderful flavor sensation.  For me, it goes without saying that when fresh bread is in the oven, it just smells like home.

Next, you both have a unique journey into our programs. What got you into culinary arts and why did you choose Moraine Park?

CHERIE: I am a first semester Culinary Arts student at Moraine Park. I come from the town of Eldorado, which is just outside of Fond du Lac.

I already hold a Bachelor’s of Business in Marketing but I have always had a passion for the culinary arts and decided to pursue my dream of becoming a chef. I chose to come to MPTC to pursue my culinary degree because I had heard many great things about the whole culinary program, including the instructors who have true passion, knowledge, and experience in their field. The culinary department is like a family, and being able to know your instructors and have them know you allows you really learn all you can from your teachers and peers and master your craft while you are a student.

In the future I hope to work and travel both nationally and internationally as a chef, learning new cuisines and techniques that I will put to use in a restaurant of my own when I am ready.

PAUL: I was born and raised in Waupun.  I always enjoyed being in the kitchen, watching Mom or Dad or Grandma putting together a meal.  One of my favorite places to gather was around the fire pit, whether we were grilling burgers, frying fish, or building a “garbage pail” egg scramble in a large cast iron skillet at sunrise.  During high school, I worked part-time at a local fast-food restaurant, and I enjoyed the work.

While I always delighted in cooking, I never realized just how passionate I would become about it – especially baking artisan breads and homemade rolls. After more than two decades in my current profession, which has absolutely nothing to do with culinary, I came to the realization that I was within a few years of retirement eligibility.  I made the decision to go back to school.  Knowing everyone needs to eat, and recognizing that the trend is leaning towards healthier choices, I wanted to learn how to prepare a tasty yet healthy menu.

Even if I chose not to make a second career out of cooking, I knew that my family and I still stood to benefit greatly from my selection of the culinary program.

Last, what was it like being on TV? Did you feel pressure and nerves or was it a comfortable experience? 

PAUL: Even under the careful choreography and delicate direction of our instructor Tom Endejan, I was still very anxious about the television segment.  The notion of using an unfamiliar stove in front of several high-definition cameras on live television grew increasingly unsettling as the date approached.  Even under these circumstances, because we’d practiced putting our dish together several times – even if it was in a controlled environment – we felt like we were ready. For me, it was an honor and a privilege to be invited to represent Moraine Park on FOX 11’s “Good Day Wisconsin.”  I am grateful for the opportunity, appreciative of the experience, and thankful for the warmth and hospitality shown to us by the television cast and crew.  I would especially like to acknowledge Emily Deem for her personal attention to detail, keeping us informed and updated throughout the whole operation.

CHERIE: Getting the opportunity to represent my school and culinary program on a well watched local TV program was quite an honor for me. I had never done anything like this before and I learned a lot about about how challenging but fun it is to create a ‘quick’ four minute spot. It was so cool to be able to got to the FOX 11 studio and see how Good Day Wisconsin works and have a little taste of what it is like to be on a cooking segment. It was also great to be able to spend the time to learn how to take a recipe and it’s parts and break it down to fit in a timed segment. It was an experience I enjoyed a lot and would love to do again, even if it means waking up at 4 a.m. One of my favorite things about cooking is creating food and sharing it with others and being able to share with so many people through TV was definitely a little piece of a dream come true.

For more information on Moraine Park’s Culinary Arts program, click here.

Thomas Endejan
Written by Thomas Endejan
Culinary Arts Instructor