Our Faculty & Staff
Chef Ethan Starr has over 16 years of experience in the culinary industry where he specialized in fish fabrication and sushi. He has worked at several DFW restaurants including Shinjuku Station, Sushi Zushi, Kona Grill, and Max’s Wine Dive. Most recently, Chef Starr was Head Sushi Chef/Kitchen Sous at Tokyo Cafe. Over his time in industry, Chef Starr has gained valuable experience in restaurant operations and supervisory management.
Learn more: Chef Ethan Starr Spotlight Video
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.
Learn more: Chef Ched Pagtakhan Spotlight Video
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.
Learn more: Chef Mark Hitri Spotlight Video
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.
Learn more: Chef Rosemary Pagtakhan Spotlight Video
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.
Learn more: Chef Denise Fullmer Spotlight Video
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
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.
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.
Taylor Nevitt is a Fort Worth native and alumni of The Culinary School of Fort Worth. She has always had a passion for cooking. In high school and while attending CSFTW, she worked as an instructor at Young Chef’s Academy. She’s also previously worked as a cook for a Fort Worth country club, as a preschool teacher, and as an assistant manager for an ice cream shop. Currently, she works for Just Encased Food Truck and has for five years. Taylor’s very excited to be back at CSFTW to help the students have the best learning experience possible.
After three decades of working in public schools as a teacher and administrator in the Fort Worth community, Holly took a leap into postsecondary education, from children to adults.
Though she did not grow up in Fort Worth, she and her husband Mike have called it home for thirty years and raised all three of their children here. She reads to learn and to dream. She is a collector of stories and is passionate about hearing the stories of the people she meets every day. She lives the truth that you are never too old to change your story, to live a better story, and to learn something new along the way.
Cristina Tapia was born and raised in Fort Worth. Her involvement in the Culinary Program at Green B. Trimble Technical High School guided her to pursue the food service industry. With the help of the Texas Restaurant Association(s) and the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival scholarships, she was able to attend the University of Houston. In 2021 she received her bachelor’s degree in Restaurant Management with Magna Cum Laude honors. She enjoys cooking cultured Mexican food from Guanajuato and learning something new every day.
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