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Oklahoma City - An OSU Degree in OKC.

OSU-OKC student honored by restaurant industry

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City student Rachel Cagigal recently was honored by the Oklahoma Restaurant Association as one of the best in the industry.

Cagigial was among more than 80 foodservice professionals from across the state recognized at the 22nd annual Hirst Hospitality Awards. The event – which also raises funds to provide scholarships to students in the hospitality industry – took place in November at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club. More than 200 restaurant industry professionals were on hand to celebrate the outstanding contributions of the 2021 Hirst Hospitality Awards honorees.

“To be recognized is one of the highest honors in the industry,” said Dar Yasseri, OSU-OKC vice president of student experience. “It’s quiet an accomplishment and speaks to her level of professionalism and attention to detail. It’s a big deal.”

Cagigal – who was nominated for the award by her employer – is completing her first semester at OSU-OKC as an adult student. She first went to college after graduating from Classen School of Advanced Studies in 2008 but stopped and began working in restaurants.

“Now I know what I want to do,” she said. “My entire thinking process about school had to change.”

Dr. LuAnne Kuelzer, associate professor in initial college studies, said Cagigal is a very bright, conscientious student.

She is employed at The Hutch in Nichols Hills, part of the Western Concepts family of restaurants.

“I’m trying to learn everything I can in the restaurant business. I’ve been a cook, hostess, server, busser,” Cagigal said. “I’m whatever they need. I love it.”

She enrolled in OSU-OKC’s horticulture technologies department because eventually she wants to grow food.

Fifteen years down the road, she wants to be a part of the food chain, supplying restaurants with produce from a small farm. First, she will need to learn how to set up the operation and then how to successfully grow the food, she said.

“Growing your own food is going to be more important than ever,” Cagigal said.