For Immediate Release: May 15, 2014
Contact: Selina Ayala-Patlan, Valerie Martinez (909) 445-1001

Four CHEF Students Experience Event Planning and Prep While Kicking-off “Sabor Latino” Event

MONTEBELLO At the “Sabor Latino” Food Industry Trade Show on Tuesday, May 13, four juniors from the Applied Technology Center (ATC) in Montebello, were able to garner real, hands-on experience in event management as part of their unique curriculum in the Culinary, Hospitality, and Event Management (CHEF) Pathway.

With the help of community partnerships and Lilly Rocha, CEO of “Sabor Latino,” Roxanne Jimenez, Anthony Garcia, Hellen Lopez and Claudia Diaz were responsible for six projects in the planning and prep of the trade show as part of a special eight-week paid internship that Rocha sponsored and coordinated. They learned about business, vendor negotiations, project management, time management, and full-picture event coordination.

Organizing and managing their own booth, as well as cutting the ribbon to kick off the event, marked the culmination of the internship. Students also had the opportunity to begin professional networking with industry leaders.

“A major goal at ATC is preparing students to be college- and career-ready; this exact event not only exposes CHEF students to industry leaders and growing culinary trends, but also provides a forum in which they can begin to practice what they are learning in the classroom,” said MUSD Board of Education President David Vela. “We applaud the dedication and enthusiasm these students have shown in advancing their academic and professional careers.”

The event, held at the Pasadena Convention Center and sponsored by Wells Fargo, was chockfull with industry trade leaders, restaurateurs and food service providers. Forty-five exhibitors, showcasing their food items and services for the two-day event, attended and were able to participate in a conference and symposium focusing on cutting-edge topics such as the growing Hispanic influence on the food landscape across the country and the charge to bring organic food items into Hispanic cuisine.

“Having had many years experience in organizing trade shows and events, I feel it’s very important to inform our local Latino youth of the lucrative and rewarding job possibilities within event management,” said Lilly Rocha, CEO of “Sabor Latino.” “I am very humbled and grateful to have worked with the CHEF students, and I look forward to building a long-term relationship with ATC to promote these opportunities.”

Understanding the basics of the kitchen, food preparation, catering and hospitality services have been major components of the CHEF curriculum at ATC. The internship program and the trade show were the first integration of event management in the CHEF Pathway’s three-year history.

“We sincerely thank Ms. Rocha for volunteering her time and energy toward connecting our CHEF students to practical learning experiences that contribute to their education and interests,” said Cleve Pell, Superintendent of Schools. “We also look forward to working with Ms. Rocha and her team of professionals in the future as we continue to develop and refine our CHEF Pathway at ATC.”

The show’s website can be found at


Sabor Latino1: ATC students, Susanna Contreras Smith, Superintendent of Education, Lilly Rocha, and other members of the Sabor Latino leadership team cut the ribbon for the trade show on Tuesday, May 13.

Sabor Latino2: ATC students and staff gather for a photo opp after the ribbon was cut at the Sabor Latino trade show. From left to right: Anthony Garcia, student intern; Hellen Lopez, student intern; Roxanne Jimenez, student intern; Sterling Schubert, Principal of ATC; Stefania Nieto, ATC Program Advocate; Ryan Rice, Teacher/Facilitator at ATC.