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Faculty members in the culinary arts program at East Central College were recognized for their recent achievements.


Chef Ted Hirschi, a ssistant professor and coordinator of ECC’s culinary arts program, was honored by the American Culinary Federation’s Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis at a dinner gala in November.  Hirschi received the Oliver H. Sommer Mentor Award which is presented annually to an Association member who best exemplifies the passion for mentoring fellow culinarians and junior members of the association.  


Culinary Faculty-Derakshan and Hirschi

Chef Carla Derakshan and Chef Ted Hirschi


A faculty member at ECC since 1993, Hirschi is a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Educator.  He is also recognized as a Foodservice Management Professional by the National Restaurant Association.   


There are seven culinary programs now within the St Louis Chefs de Cuisine Association’s region.  “This is an affirmation by the association that East Central College is making a difference in culinary education in the St Louis region,” noted Hirschi.


A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Hirschi also holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Maryville University.  He earned an MBA from Fontbonne University.


Chef Carla Derakshan, a culinary instructor at ECC for the past five years, recently earned her ACF credential as a Certified Working Pastry Chef.   In addition to passing a written test, Derakshan also had to complete a rigorous four hour practical exam monitored by three evaluators. 


Derakshan has worked in the entertainment industry for 10 years and the foodservice industry for almost 20 years.  She owned and operated a restaurant in the Washington area for 13 years prior to teaching full time at ECC.  A graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Derakshan also holds an associate of arts degree in theater from ECC and a bachelor’s degree in theater and mass communications from the University of Denver.   


The American Culinary Federation’s certification program establishes standards and testing for different levels and areas of the culinary industry.   Darline Enlo and Gail Witt, instructional assistants in the culinary program, are also Certified Culinarians.


ECC’s culinary arts program is accredited through the American Culinary Federation, Educational Foundation, Accreditation Commission (ACFEFAC) and is recognized as an Exemplary Program by the ACF. 


Culinary Arts is one of 30 technical education programs offered through ECC.  Students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree or a Certificate of Achievement.   The curriculum centers on hands-on learning in a professional culinary kitchen with a bakeshop and garde manger cold room.  Potential students are required to complete a separate application for the culinary program and interview with the program faculty prior to admission.


For more information email or call 636-584-6686.

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