Our Faculty & Staff
Our Faculty & Staff
Chef Ethan Starr has been in the restaurant industry for over 16 years and has spent 13 out of those 16 years studying sushi. His most recent position before becoming a full-time chef instructor was Head Sushi Chef/Sous Chef at Tokyo Cafe.
Culinary Operations Manager
Chef Ched Pagtakhan graduated from Triton College in Chicago and received his A.A.S. degree in Culinary Arts. He has over 22 years of diverse industry experience that includes management positions in luxury hotels, resorts, fine dining restaurants, high volume catering, corporate dining and culinary education. Chef Ched has been teaching culinary arts for over 11 years and was awarded the “2014 Culinary Educator of the Year” by the American Culinary Federation, Windy City Chapter for his work as Head of the Culinary Program at Triton College. He also owns and operates a local food truck business, Just Encased LLC, which focuses on scratch-made sausage sandwiches with distinct flavor profiles.
Mark Hitri, CEC®
Chef Mark Hitri is a chef instructor at The Culinary School of Fort Worth and has worked as a Chef de Cuisine and Executive Chef at numerous high ranking restaurants including Saint Emilion, Vidalia’s, and Renaissance Worthington Hotel. Having worked in the culinary industry for over 25 years, Chef Hitri specializes in classic French cuisine, and looks to culinary masterminds such as Daniel Boulud, and Jacques Pepin for inspiration.
Chef Rosemary Pagtakhan attended Kendall College in Chicago and received her A.A.S. degree in Culinary Arts. She has over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry ranging from hotels, bakeries, senior care and education working in both front and back of the house. Chef Rosemary loves cooking and teaching both savory and sweet foods. Her background stems from French cuisine and pastries and includes different areas of hospitality management.
Chef Denise Fullmer joins The Culinary School of Fort Worth with over 40 years working in Food Service. Throughout her career, she has enjoyed teaching cooks of all levels, she has competed both nationally and internationally, and she has enjoyed working independently with all who have an interest in Food Arts. She has served as Coordinator of Live Healthy Forest Park and as an Advisor for various Community Colleges. Chef Fullmer has been a personal chef, private caterer and food writer, and she has over 20 years experience teaching Culinary Arts and Food Service at the college level. More than anything, she strives to instill in her students a genuine passion for cooking while motivating them to explore their industry interests as individuals.
Chef Ginger Blazek has a background in marketing, executive search and was the founder and owner of Zenzero Kitchen, a scratch kitchen, bakery and craft coffee shop in Coppell, TX which she owned and operated for 8 years. She was a member of the CSFTW Advisory Board for two years and joined the Chef Instructor team in the fall of 2020.
Scott received his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University. He has a background in operations, management and finance. He enjoys investing in his local community by serving as an elder at Fort Worth Presbyterian Church and serving in the past on the board of Covenant Classical School and as a trustee for The Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund.
Scott is grateful to have three sons and a wonderful wife. His favorite pastime is heading down to Rockport, TX with the family where they enjoy the beach and some good salt-water fishing.
Jason Avelson, CCC® and CCE®
Director of Apprenticeship & High School Partnerships
Chef Jason Avelson attended Tarleton State University and received his Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences with focuses in Education, Nutrition, and Business. He is a veteran of the Armed Forces and graduated at the top of his class from The Culinary School of Fort Worth. Chef Avelson specializes in student focused learning and southern comfort classics. Chef Avelson is a Certified Chef de Cuisine® and Certified Culinary Educator®.
Director of Compliance & Financial Aid
Danielle graduated from Saint Petersburg College in Clearwater, Florida and returned to Texas in 2013. She has a background in office management, compliance, and financials in both the electronic recycling and automotive industries.
She enjoys travelings, spending time with her wonderful family and friends, and loves being involved in the local culinary community.
Financial Aid Coordinator
Peter is the Financial Aid Coordinator at The Culinary School of Fort Worth. He was born and raised here in Fort Worth, Texas. He graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and then went on to obtain his Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Arlington. He has over ten years of experience in banking and finance as well as ten years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has a passion in helping others achieve their dreams of becoming a chef. In his free time, he volunteers at his church and at his son’s school. Peter enjoys cooking, history, and gardening, but most of all he loves spending time with his wife, young son, and his chihuahuas.
Brittney is the Office Manager at The Culinary School of Fort Worth and a new resident to Texas.
Brittney graduated from Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota in May 2019 and moved to Fort Worth shortly after. She has a background in office administration and customer service.
Brittney enjoys spending quality time with her husband, friends, and pets. She also loves traveling up north to her hometown in Minnesota to see her family. In her free time, she likes traveling to new destinations, going on long evening walks, and trying new restaurants in the area.
Michele has lived all over the country, but she has lived in Fort Worth for 18 years and worked in administration for 30 years. She is active in her church: singing in the choir and mentoring ladies. In her free time she loves baking, making greeting cards, sewing and traveling with her husband Al. They have one daughter and a son-in-law.
Felix Veloz Graduated from The Culinary School Of Fort Worth in 2017. He brings great energy and a can-do attitude along with a great diversity in experience. His jobs have included line cooking at Central Market, managing catering operations, fine dining, food truck operations, and leading high-volume teams at American Airlines, being a personal chef for high end clients, etc. Felix has called Texas home his entire life but loves traveling to continue his learning about the culinary craft. The things that drive him the most are his father Felix Sr., a butcher for 25 years, and mother Maria, who has been managing restaurants for 30+ years. He is very excited to be back at the school to grow his experience even more.
Human Resources, The Mansion at Turtle Creek
Owner, Zenzero Kitchen
Patrick Mitchell CEC, AAC, FWMCS
Executive Chef/Culinary Advisor, Ben E. Keith Foods - DFW Division
General Manager, Reata
Owner, Just Encased