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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Roberto Lopez Carrillo devotes his time serving SBCC in the JSB cafe

The Channels Features Pages | VITAL VAQUEROS
Roberto Lopez Carrillo giving orders to student Katie Wiest at the JSB cafe on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The JSB cafe is operated by the culinary arts students and open from Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Order 89,” Katie Wiest, JSB Cafe student calls out to Roberto Lopez Carrillo as he takes the plate and walks outside to the patio with the special for the week. 

Working in the culinary arts department for nine years, Lopez Carrillo has been alongside chefs making sure every kitchen and class is ready to be utilized by the incoming students each day. 

“I’m not afraid to go up and ask questions,” Wiest said. “He knows not to overstep and lets it be a learning experience.”

In 1994 Lopez attended City College as a student in the English as a second Language program. In 1999, he joined the culinary arts program and that’s where his passion to become a chef began. That same year, he got his certificate in culinary arts.

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In 2013, he started working in the kitchen as a lab teacher’s assistant. His favorite class he enjoys assisting with is the catering class. In this class, he creates a menu to teach the students, then on the night of events, they teach the members of the City College Foundation what’s being served to them.

“It was the best way for the students to show the foundation how much we appreciate what they do for us here at City College,” Chef Carillo said.

Born in Mexico, he grew up with his mom cooking many traditional dishes, one of which includes pozole rojo. In the pozole, his mom added a Chile de árbol purée that consists of roasted Chile de árbol, garlic, salt, pepper and a little bit of Coca Cola. The soda is used for sweetness to balance out the spice. 

It’s one of his favorite recipes to recreate and thinks he’s nailed it down to the same flavor from when she made it.

“It’s the closest that I can get to my mom,” the excited LTA said. 

As music is playing in the cafe and guests are digging into their meals, in the kitchen the lab teacher’s assistant and students mess around with each other in their short amount of ‘free’ time.

“It feels like you’re in the kitchen with another one of us,” Wiest said. “He loves to joke around and is serious when it comes down to working.”

Outside of the kitchen, he likes to stay active. The enthusiastic cook enjoys playing soccer twice a week as it’s always been a big part of his life from playing and watching it with his family. He also enjoys kickboxing, running, biking, his wife’s to-do list and enjoys his coffee time. During this time he likes to sit and enjoy his coffee whether it’s at a coffee shop or at home. 

Lopez Carillo is one of two LTA’s who help around the kitchen, and often trades venues he assists in with other LTA Monica De Alba.

“He’s from the same city I am from, Mexico City, so it’s nice to work with somebody who has your same background,” De Alba said. 

De Alba has been working with him since she first started seven years ago.

“He has a good sense of humor and is very fast,” De Alba said. “He’s always moving from one place to another.”

Lopez Carillo hopes to become a chef instructor at City College and is finishing up his associates degree in order to do so.

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