In the News

New!Ai Orange County Student & Veteran Featured in Local News

Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management student Rufus Bloomfield of The Art Institute of California - Orange County was recently featured in the News Enterprise, a local newspaper in Orange County.

Titled "Cooking Up A Love Filled Dream," the full-page article explores Rufus' childhood, his time in the Marines, and his future plans for supporting other veterans after finishing culinary school. Rufus grew up on his grandparents' farm in New Jersey, where he learned about hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity. He was also taught the value of generosity, as his family was constantly sharing what little they had with others who had even less. From his grandmother, he also learned how to cook.

Later in life, Rufus joined the Marines, where he learned advanced communications skills and proudly served his country. After leaving the Marines, he worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly 20 years, but was left feeling unfulfilled. Approaching 50 years of age, he retired from that profession, unsure of what his future would hold. Over time, he began to think back fondly to memories of his grandmother's cooking, and eventually he enrolled in The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California-Orange County.

Now in his second year of earning a Culinary Management Bachelor of Science degree, Rufus has not only excelled in his program, but has also helped to reshape the menu in our student-run restaurant, Exhibit, and played a leading role in creating a new veteran resource center on campus.

Rufus currently serves as a personal chef for one of the stars of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Orange County," Lydia McLaughlin, and her husband Doug, the owner and manager of a high-end men's magazine. His long term goal is to own a food truck, from which he plans to use a portion of his earnings to help other veterans pursue their own ventures.

Rufus first caught the attention of the News Enterprise reporter during the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Base veteran satellite office grand opening, at which Ai California-Orange County partnered with the Orange County Veterans Service Office and Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel to provide food. The culinary school students involved in catering the event, including Rufus, received a certificate of recognition for their role in the event's success.