SCC Success Stories

Photo of is Ana Garcia Castellanos in chef's clothing

Hello! My name is Ana Garcia Castellanos, and I am a second-year culinary student. My favorite class is World Cuisine and Cultures because we learned so much about other cultures, their food, and how food is the center of many cultural activities around the world.

I am currently a cook at Nolabelle Kitchen and Bar in downtown Mankato! In the future I would love to work in a fine dining restaurant in a big city. I want to have the experience of knowing some of the most influential chefs in the country and learning how they support sustainability through their businesses.

A chef who inspires me is Bo Songvisava, a chef from Thailand. Firstly, because she is a woman. Secondly, I appreciate that she works directly with farmers without intervention of third parties to buy her fresh produce. Thirdly, besides the fact that all her products are organic and eco-friendly sourced, she also encourages zero-waste in her restaurant. With a Michelin Star and being one of the best Chefs in Asia, I really feel very inspired by her love to own traditions. My favorite recipe is Chicken Tikka Masala, because I love Indian food and what it represents. Every Indian recipe has a lot of the many curative spices, for example, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, coriander seeds, etc.

You can learn more about the program on the Culinary Arts webpage.

Photo of cooked brownies with big chunky chocolate chipsChicken Tikka Masala

Cook Time: 5 hours and 5 minutes, to 7 hours and 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Internal Temperature: 165°F


  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 4 tsp ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ cups whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 3 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, like San Marzano
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • Steamed basmati rice (for serving)


  • Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.
  • Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat.
  • Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
  • Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
  • Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer.