Faculty & Staff

Chef Daniel Mattos

Chef Daniel Mattos

Chef Director, The Mekjian Family Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory

Teaches: Baking & Pastry and Garde Manger, Fundamentals of Cooking, Internship

daniel.mattos@ocsarts.net

Chef Daniel Mattos holds an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in food service entrepreneurship from Johnson & Wales University. Professionally, Chef Mattos served as a sous chef at prestigious restaurants and hotels throughout the United States, including Bristol Hotels and Resorts in San Francisco and Atlanta, and Stanhope Hotel in New York City.

Chef Mattos also served as sous chef, chef de cuisine, and executive chef of Bisque Restaurant, a full-scale kitchen serving more than 200 guests; he is credited with bringing the restaurant from one and a half-stars to four-stars. As Chef Director at The Art Institute of California - Orange County, he led the culinary department, and under his leadership the culinary program grew from 300 to 800 students. Prior to joining The Art Institute of California - Orange County, Chef Mattos taught health-supportive vegetarian cooking by integrating classical cooking techniques at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. Chef Daniel Mattos joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2011 and currently serves as the chef director of The Mekjian Family Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory, where he is responsible for organizing multiple kitchen facilities to accommodate teaching labs, high volume production for cafeteria services, and special events.

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Chef Peter Striffolino, CEC

Chef Peter Striffolino, CEC

Chef Director of Culinary Operations

Teaches: High Volume Production

peter.striffolino@ocsarts.net

Chef Peter Striffolino holds an associate degree in culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America. He has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including 15 years as an executive chef. Chef Striffolino worked in kitchens at five-star hotels throughout the United States, including the Palace Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel, and Pierre Hotel in New York. He also had the incredible honor of working with several three-star Michelin chefs, including Chef Paul Bocuse, Chef Alain Chapel, and Chef Jacques Maxim. Chef Striffolino has assisted with the opening of six hotels, 19 restaurants, and the launch of the Culinary Arts program at The Art Institute of California - Orange County.

Chef Striffolino was named Orange County Chef of the Year by the Orange County Business Journal, a Top Twelve Young American Chef by the Culinary Institute of America and Kraft International, and he is the originator and host of Great Chefs of Orange County, now in its 19th year. He has also received the Southern California Restaurant Writers’ Gold Award seven years in a row.

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Chef Alex Aviles

Chef Alex Aviles

Instructor

Teaches: World Concepts, World Cuisine

alex.aviles@ocsarts.net

Chef Alex Aviles holds a bachelor’s degree in culinary management from The Art Institute of California - Orange County. Prior to this, Chef Aviles served in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years. Chef Aviles joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2013 as a chef instructor of The Mekjian Family Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory. Additionally, he is the assistant coach of the conservatory’s ProStart® competition team and prep cook for the school’s culinary operations. Prior to Orange County School of the Arts, Chef Aviles was the kitchen manager of Haoule Cocina, a catering company in Fullerton, California, a lead line cook and kitchen manager of Turtle Creek Smoking Co. in Turtle Creek, North Carolina, and a line cook of Deuces Bar and Grill in Oceanside, California.

Amanda Black

Amanda Black

Instructor

amanda.black@ocsarts.net

Amanda G. Black is a Certified Food Scientist, serving up knowledge in Food, Nutrition & Science to OSCA students. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Food Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Louis Obispo, where she also served as an elected representative for the College of Agriculture. She is currently studying for her master’s degree in Education.

Having worked in the food industry for nearly ten years, Amanda got her start in the quality department of a beverage flavor manufacturing plant in south Orange County. She then worked in the research and development department of a juice concentrates manufacturer, developing products for vending machine drinks in California schools, frozen treats, and nutritional beverages. This was followed by the quality department at Cargill, one of the largest cooking oil and shortening manufacturers in the country. While working at Cargill for almost five years, Amanda served as a member of a special team tasked with troubleshooting a new cross-departmental software system and training employees at two sites. She currently works in Santa Ana researching and developing gummy vitamins from concept to full scale production. Amanda is responsible for nearly 10 new kids and adult gummy vitamins this year.

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Chef Paola Costa

Chef Paola Costa

Instructor

paola.costa@ocsarts.net

Growing up on the shore of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, in Northern Italy, Paola Costa has been a passionate food lover from an early age. In Italy, she obtained an Italian Laurea degree (M.A.) from the University of Genova, where she studied Italian language and literature, with a focus on history and early childhood psychology. Soon after getting married, her husband’s job brought her to the United States, where her passion for cooking flourished, eventually bringing her to study Advanced Culinary Arts at the ICASI Culinary Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.

Determined to increase awareness on healthy food and nutrition, she started teaching as Italian language and Chef Instructor at The Loretta Paganini School of Cooking, and then at Chabam Educational Center, where she taught for several years. As Chef Instructor and Student Chef Supervisor, Paola coordinated menu development, recipe analysis, staff scheduling, and food preparation techniques. In 2007, she was the leading chef assistant in food preparation activities for Simply Gourmet episodes by The Learning Channel.

Prior to that, she was a cooking demonstrator at the Home & Garden Show in Cleveland, Ohio, the Big Food Show in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Wine & Food Show in New York City, NY.

Paola also worked as a professor of Italian Culture and Language at Lake Erie College, in Painesville OH, and at Cuyahoga Community College, in Parma OH, where she enjoyed educating students in a global context, while encouraging knowledge and respect for cultural diversity.

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Ann Crane

Ann Crane

Instructor

ann.crane@ocsarts.net

Ann Crane was the proud owner of Meyerhof's Catering company in Irvine for 17 years, having worked her way up through being a line cook, kitchen manager, director of operations, and executive chef. She divides her time between catering for private clients and participating in a wide range of nonprofit endeavors, including Girl Scouts of Orange County and Human Options (an organization dedicated to breaking the silence of domestic violence).

A Philosophy major from University of California, Irvine (UCI), Ms. Crane is grateful to have the opportunity to bring her on-the-job food service expertise to the classroom.

Marisa George

Marisa George

Instructor

OCSA’s Ecology Center / Rooftop Garden

marisa.george@ocsarts.net

Marisa George holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from University of California, Santa Cruz. Ms. George earned a K-12 teaching credential and a master’s degree in teaching science from California State University, Fullerton. She joined Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in 2001 and serves as an academic instructor of the Science department; she teaches physical science and environmental science classes. Ms. George recently completed a Permaculture Design Course at the Ecology Center, where she and her classmates developed a blueprint design for OCSA’s rooftop garden.

Chef Michael Grover

Chef Michael Grover

Instructor

Teaches: Fundamentals of Cooking

michael.grover@ocsarts.net

Chef Michael Grover holds an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in food service management from Johnson & Wales University. He joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2014 and serves as a chef instructor in The Mekjian Family Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory. Chef Grover classically trained with French Master Chef Dominique Michou at Hotel Metropole in Brussels, Belgium. He also worked as a sous chef and head chef for various restaurants, including the Boston Sports Club at the Boston Celtics’ practice facility.

Additionally, Chef Grover acted as the front of the house captain at Sotheby’s in New York, as well as a culinary demonstration chef, marketing international vendors and collegiate culinary programs. He also currently works as a private chef, where he designs custom healthy lifestyle cuisine for clients.

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Colleen Happ

Colleen Happ

Instructor

Teaches: Food History

colleen.happ@ocsarts.net

Colleen Happ holds a bachelor’s degree in English from University of California, Irvine and a master’s degree in education, specializing in integrated curriculum and instruction: integrated teaching through the arts from Lesley University. She earned her teaching credential with a CLAD certificate. Ms. Happ joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2000 and serves as an arts instructor of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory and an academic instructor of the Literature and Composition department.

Since 1996, she has taught English and social studies to high school students and is an enthusiastic consumer of the creations of the culinary arts and hospitality industry. In addition to Food History, she also teaches Comparative Mythology, Science Fiction, Shakespeare, and Gothic Literature for students in 12th grade.

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Chef Elizabeth Molina

Chef Elizabeth Molina

Instructor

elizabeth.molina@ocsarts.net

Chef Molina graduated from Le Cordon Bleu: Pasadena. She then went on to work for Wolfgang Puck, catering special events in Hollywood and the Conga Room. She then worked at Palomino Restaurant located in Westwood, and through this experience, she was exposed to catering for political campaigns and business executive luncheons that the restaurant hosted. Chef Molina later worked as Garde Manger and Special Events Chef at the popular West-Side Tavern located in the West-Side Pavilion, serving 300-500 covers daily for lunch service. Chef Molina then transitioned and worked at Lemon Moon, where she obtained much knowledge from Chef Cris Brown and Chef Josiah Citrin.

Recently, Chef Molina worked at Paramount High School where she began the Culinary Program, which she helped develop into a three-year curriculum. She also served as a campus advisor to the culinary club, where she planned, organized, and facilitated extracurricular events that helped further the total school program outside normal school hours. She also incorporated a “Farm to Table Event/ Master Chef Food Competition, where her high school students partnered with local elementary students into creating specialty deserts.

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Chef Kogilla Pillay

Chef Kogilla Pillay

Instructor

kogilla.pillay@ocsarts.net

Kogila Pillay graduated with a diploma in baking and pastry from the Art Institute of California. She also completed a cake decorating course through Wilton and Art of Desserts through the Stephan Treand Pastry School. She began working at Orange Hill Restaurant as a pastry chef, where she brought a fresh perspective and emphasis on comfort desserts to the restaurant’s menu. Chef Pillay is also a partner in a catering company and food truck in Irvine.

Tracey Vucalovich

Tracey Vucalovich

Instructor

Foundations I, Foundations II, Safety & Sanitation

tracey.vucalovich@ocsarts.net

Tracey Vukalovich studied at Sydney University, graduating with a degree in nutrition biochemistry and food technology. As the Australian and New Zealand Executive Training Manager for Fisher Catering Services, the company expanded to provide food services in many high profile sites including: New Zealand Parliament House, numerous BHP Billiton sites, Antarctic Australian Mining Camp, elite schools such as Ascham and Scotts in Sydney, along with Channel 10 TV facility in Western Australia and other high profile clients.

Mrs. Vukalovich also spearheaded the company's bid for ISO9001 series Quality Assurance through Lloyd’s Register of London. She also worked for Gardner Merchant/Sedexo Australia and was involved in the training of hospitality personnel in key locations, such as: Flemington Raceway, Myers cafes, the Bennelong Restaurant, and Concourse Cafes at the Sydney Opera House. After relocating, she worked for the Illawarra Institute of Technology as a Hospitality Management Travel and Tourism lecturer for a decade. Her passion for quality Hospitality Education has forged its way throughout her career.

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