LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Kimberly Lewis of Sowela Technical Community College has always loved spending time in the kitchen.
"I love to cook," says Lewis. "You get closer with people. I think it's a loving thing."
Lewis says she's happy she can finally learn to cook right here on campus.
"We've been back on campus for a week now," says Lewis. "I like it."
Hurricane Rita damaged the old culinary building back in 2005.
"They had to completely redo the building because it had so much water damage," says Mimi Armistead.
For the last two years Mimi Armistead has had to jump around to different locations for culinary classes.
"Not being able to come here and having to go to another campus was a little bit of an inconvenience," says Armistead.
After working with FEMA for more than four years, Sowela has finally got their kitchen back.
"We were so limited on equipment over there. Now we come here and we have everything we can use to work with," says Armistead.
"There's a lot more space and more room to get everything accomplished," says Lewis.
Chef Joe Heacook says the new facility offers better opportunities than ever before.
"We actually have students that now have to get their hands dirty and actually participate in the day-to-day operation," says Heacook. "We have a baking rotation, we have a volume foods rotation, and we actually teach them how to be successful in a food operations setting."
For more information about the new and improved culinary arts department at Sowela, click on "Culinary Department" to the right.