Culinary Arts grad makes it big in Big Apple

Culinary Arts grad makes it big in Big Apple

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College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

By Steve Koehler

Opportunity can come out of nowhere and when it did for Ozarks Technical Community College graduate Ric Ramos, he took full advantage of his chance.

A 2009 spring graduate of OTC’s culinary arts program, one of the top programs offered at the College, Ramos landed a job cooking in a top restaurant in New York City by simply asking if there were any job openings.

And it’s not just any high-end restaurant in New York. It’s Morimoto, a  restaurant owned by Masaharu Morimoto, one of the stars of the Food Network’s “Iron Chef” series.

But don’t expect to see Ramos on television working for the Iron Chef.

“I’m not thinking about television. I’m here to get as much experience as I can. I work hard and give it my all every day,” Ramos said in an interview from New York.

During spring break of 2009, Ramos went to New York for a job interview at Jean Georges Restaurant but his hopes were diminished when he found there were 20 other applicants.

He left to have lunch at Morimoto’s restaurant, and told the manager he was looking for work. The manager asked to see Ramos’ resume. The head chef gave the OTC graduate a one-day tryout and he was hired.

Ramos, who moved to Springfield from the Philippines five years ago, graduated from OTC on May 15 and was working in New York June 1.

The 21-year-old Glendale High School graduate picked up his culinary experience at OTC and working as a teenager at various restaurants, including Nakato Japanese Restaurant in Springfield, where his father works.

“He was an exceptional student. He had an overwhelming interest to learn everything he could about the subject he was taught. He asked the right questions. He was a very hard worker. He had a great work ethic,” said Lisa Gardner, department chair for OTC’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program.

Chef George Southwick, the Culinary Arts chief instructor, said Ramos had a lot of family support when he was a student at OTC.

“I was impressed with his family. He was a good student and a top quality person,” Southwick said.

 “The people at Nakato wanted to help Ric and let him really shine. Ric is one of those people who always went the extra mile. I’m not surprised he found success in New York.”

Ramos has done well at Morimoto and has moved up to working the cold appetizer station, the sauté station and the grill station, while at the same time, honing his skills in sushi making.

He wants to eventually be an executive chef at a five-star hotel. He’s not thinking about appearing on TV with Morimoto on the Food Network.

“That’s not what I want to do right now. I want to get as much experience as I can,” he said.

Ramos is grateful for the help the culinary arts program gave him.

“It helps when you go to school. It gives you ideas so when you are working in the real world, you can apply those ideas. School gives you the good basic knowledge,” he said, adding that he’s not sure what the future holds for him.

“I know I still have a long way to go so I’m going to reach my goals one step at a time and I’m going to try the best I can in order to be successful.”

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.