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’s 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 Atlanta and San Francisco, 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. Previously, Chef Mattos taught health-supportive vegetarian cooking by integrating classical cooking techniques at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. Chef Mattos joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2011 and currently serves as 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. He is devoted to giving his students hands-on and real-world experience through competitions, class assignments, and internships with local kitchens, hotels, and restaurants.

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Tracey Vukalovich

Tracey Vukalovich

Assistant Director

Teaches: Food, Nutrition & Science

tracey.vukalovich@ocsarts.net

Ms. Tracey Vukalovich has spent more than 30 years working in the culinary arts and hospitality industry. She studied at the University of Sydney, receiving a Bachelor of Education majoring in nutrition and special diets. The companies and organizations she has worked for include, the NSW Department of Education, Illawarra Institute of Technology, Qantas Airways, and two large contract catering firms; Gardener Merchant / Sedexo and Fisher Catering Pty Ltd.

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.

Ms. Vukalovich also spearheaded the company's bid for ISO9001 series Quality Assurance through Lloyd’s Register of London. She 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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Chef Paola Costa

Chef Paola Costa

Instructor

Teaches: Foundations I, Foundations II, Safety & Sanitation

paola.costa@ocsarts.net

Chef Paola Costa holds a diploma in Advanced Techniques Culinary Arts from the ICASI International Culinary Arts & Sciences Institute of Cleveland, Ohio. She is a ServSafe and ProStart instructor and proctor, and an OC Fair Culinary Arts Food Competition judge. At OCSA, Chef Costa teaches the foundations of culinary arts and restaurant management, while preparing students for their ProStart two-year career and their ServSafe Manager exam. Chef Costa also serves as the advisor for one of OCSA's CA&H student clubs.

Before embracing a culinary career, Chef Costa was a university adjunct faculty member and conference speaker for eight years, after graduating from the University of Genova, Italy, with a M.A. in Italian Language & Literature. She taught comparative cultures at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, and Italian Language at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio and Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio.

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Ann Crane

Ann Crane

Internship Coordinator

Teaches: Senior Capstone and Internship

ann.crane@ocsarts.net

Ms. 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

Faculty Sponsor

Rooftop Terrace Garden

Marisa George received her undergraduate degree in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz. She teaches eighth-grade physical science and has been a teacher at OCSA since 2001. This school year she is also teaching environmental science.

Ms. George recently completed a Permaculture Design Course at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. It was through this course work and with the help of some of her classmates, that led to the blueprint design for OCSA’s Terrace 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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Stacie Cruz

Stacie Cruz

Instructor

Teaches: Literature and Composition, Food History

stacie.cruz@ocsarts.net

Valuing learning at least a little bit about everything, Stacie Cruz attended Santa Clara University earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with an emphasis in African Literature. She earned her credential and master’s degree in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Cruz 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 1995, 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. She has taught several courses in addition to Food History, including 9th Grade Literature and Composition, Popular Culture, Film, and Shakespeare. Ms. Cruz believes that learning is a process, not a result. She is passionately dedicated to supporting her students from whom, she is proud to say, she learns from every day.

 

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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 Kogila Pillay

Chef Kogila Pillay

Instructor

Teaches: Culinary Academic Elective, Baking & Pastry, Garde Manger

kogila.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.