Alumni Success Stories

Photo of Chef Jason Blackwell

Jason Blackwell

Chef's Knife Catering

Jason Blackwell distinguished himself as one of Dallas College’s most recognizable alumni when he won $10,000 in an episode of “Chopped” called “Chuck Wagon Cook-Off.” After completing Dallas College’s culinary program in 2019, he launched Chef’s Knife Catering and oversaw the culinary program at Skyline High School.

Read his full story here.

Photo of Chef Jonathan Merrill and Terry Duncan

Jonathan Merrill and Terry Duncan

Colossal Sandwich Shop

A struggle to find a place that served great sandwiches led lifelong friends Jonathan Merrill and Terry Duncan to open Colossal Sandwich Shop in Bedford. Duncan credits Dallas College’s apprenticeship program for setting him up for a success in the industry. Merrill served in the Army before attending Dallas College in the early 1990s. Both had successful hotel industry careers before opening the sandwich shop.

Read their full story here.

Photo of Preston Nguyen

Preston Nguyen

The Culinary Code

Preston Nguyen was 18 and a freshman in the Dallas College culinary program when he first entered the World Food Championship and was just 19 when he won a grand prize of $100,000 at its Final Table competition. His parents Emma and Peter Nguyen, who met each other at Dallas College 25 years earlier, served as his sous chefs. Last year, Preston competed on “Next Level Chef,” hosted by Gordon Ramsey.

Read Nguyen's full story here.

Photo of Sayda Rapalo

Sayda Rapalo

Rapalo Coffee and Croissants

As a high school teacher, Sayda Rapalo encouraged her students to follow their dreams. One day she decided to heed her own advice and pursue her passion for baking and cooking. Her journey brought her to Dallas College to study pastry arts, and then France, before opening Rapalo Coffee and Croissants in Hurst.

Read her full story here.