By Victoria Navarro
Arturo Luna begins each class with the same message: “Life is good.” Luna shares his passion for culinary arts and forms bonds with his students in hopes that they learn and grow with the knowledge they gain through the classes. Many students have heard about culinary arts, but few know about the teacher in charge of this popular class.
Luna’s passion for the culinary field was influenced by his family owning a restaurant in Pacoima. Ever since Luna’s childhood, he has been surrounded by different foods which therefore drew out his passion for cooking. As he learned more about the field, Luna started to enter several competitions.
When he was 18 years old, Luna competed at the American Culinary Federation competition against multiple people from different states in Las Vegas. However, he faced difficulties as he only had three days to prepare for the tournament due to late admission in the event.
Luna prepared a filet mignon with garlic baked potato and steamed vegetables on the side. With the hard work and time he dedicated toward practicing, Luna won the Bronze prize in his first competition.
“It was actually my very first medal and working hard for third days got me the results. That was also the first time I’ve been called chef from a different person,” Luna said.
Despite his success in culinary arts, Luna first decided to pursue a career in computer science because of his curiosity toward video game development. Although he did have an interest in computer science and the work ethic it needs, Luna decided to switch his major to culinary arts because he wanted to pursue a career in which he felt more comfortable.
To study culinary arts, Luna attended Mission College where he also started his teaching career at a juvenile camp.
After attending Mission College for five years, he transferred to Johnson & Wales University in North Miami. Switching schools provided Luna with more opportunities to travel to different states, ultimately enhancing his appreciation for different cultural foods.
“I always imagined where that food came from, who made it, and if I could identify all the spices. It led to more experimenting,” Luna said.
However, Luna had to take a break from cooking for six months each year due to the high amount of stress, which posed serious health issues.
“I just kept on going and my body started shutting down because of stress. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high everything, and I was only 24,” Luna said.
Along with teaching the school’s culinary arts class, Luna also teaches at Mission College because he enjoys working with students. For Luna, his students constantly motivate him to work hard at his job, allowing him to make the most of his time at our school.
“I see the whole process. I see my students getting better and better, and that’s what I enjoy the most. By teaching a student a skill and maybe one day they take that skill to someone else, I live forever,” Luna said laughingly.