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Culinary Staff Bios

Meet the Culinary Faculty


Steve Griffiths / Faculty and Program Director-Chef Griffiths gained his culinary experience from the kitchens of the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, The Crowne Plaza Hotel, and Legal Sea Foods of Boston. In addition to holding Executive Chef, Chef Garde Manger, and Banquet Chef positions, he brings many years of teaching experience to the students of EMCC.  As an instructor he has coached student teams for the ACF Junior Hot Food Competition, as well as the winning team at the 2002 National Collegiate Ice Carving Championships.  Steve received his AAS in Culinary Arts from White Mountains Community College and BAS from Arizona State University, with further training at the Notter School of Pastry Arts, The French Pastry School, and 2006 World Pastry Forum.  He has won several awards for ice sculpture, including fourth place in the single block competition at the 2004 World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Jon Hill / Faculty- Chef Hill joined Estrella Mountain Community College Faculty to develop the culinary arts program in the summer of 2002. He is retired from nearly two decades as a Chef with Westin Hotels and Resorts Worldwide  Inc.  Chef Hill is also the former White House Executive Chef for President Ronald Reagan.  Before joining EMCC, he was the “Mobil Five Star” Executive Chef of The Wigwam Resort from 1992 to 2002. He holds a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.Ed.) from Grand Canyon University, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Phoenix, and an Associate of Science Degree from The University of Hawaii in Food Service.  Jon is a graduate of the 4 year culinary apprenticeship program at The Greenbrier Hotel Culinary Academy. He participated in the James Beard "Great Resort Chefs 2000 Series" in New York City.  Jon is recipient of the Escoffier Gold Medal in pulled sugar from The New York Societe  Culinaire Philantropique Salon of Culinary Arts.  Chef Hill has a “Lifetime” designation as a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation and he is a Certified Food and Beverage Executive with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.


Chris Cwierz / Adjunct Faculty- Chef Cwierz attended college in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts in 1999. During his studies, Chef Cwierz had the opportunity to take a class in Sugar, Chocolate and Pastillage with world-renowned Chef Ewald Notter. It was then he realized his true passion for pastry. His career has provided him with positions at the Duquesne Club, Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn, and The Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa. At these properties, he was responsible for creating desserts, amenities, and elaborate occasion cakes. He has also worked with Chef Ewald Notter as a Baking and Pastry Instructor and Director of Student Services. Chef Cwierz holds a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality Business and enjoys working with students, sharing his knowledge and guiding them on their edible journey.   In 2012, Chef Cwierz represented the United States regional team at the International Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. The team competed against 62 countries, and received a bronze medal and is now ranked within the top 20 teams in the world. Chef Cwierz competed in the individual patisserie category and took a bronze medal, with four plated desserts, five petit fours and a confectionary showpiece. In 2013, he was named Pastry Chef of the Year by the Arizona Chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

Doug Delong / Adjunct Faculty-Doug joined EMCC as an adjunct instructor in January of 2011. He holds a BA in Management from Ottawa University.  Doug’s hotel/hospitality experience spans 28 years and began at the Mobil Five Star and AAA 5 Diamond Wigwam Resort.  He spent 18 years at the Wigwam Resort and held numerous positions ranging from bus person to director of food and beverage.  During his tenure at the Wigwam, he was selected from a pool of 70 plus managers to spearhead a new resort-wide quality assurance program.  This position afforded Doug the opportunity to learn every aspect of the resort business.  Doug also worked at the 4 Diamond Copper Wynd Resort for 7 years, including 4 years as the general manager.  Doug also completed the Total Quality Management Program at EMCC, as well as the 5 course AH & LA Food and Beverage Departmental Specialization Certificate.

Claudia Duran / Adjunct Faculty-Claudia Duran joined Estrella Mountain Community College in 2012 as an adjunct instructor in baking and pastry.  She completed her formal pastry training at The Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California, in the Napa Valley.  She honed her baking and pastry skills at Bouchon Bakery working with a team to produce breads and pastries for Bouchon and The French Laundry.  She holds a BA from Arizona State University. Claudia is a partner in a local catering business and sells baked goods on the internet via her websiteRoomforDessertOnline.com.

Deborah Snyder / Adjunct Faculty- Deborah received her formal training from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., earning an AOS degree. Upon moving to Arizona, Deborah continued to develop her skills by working at The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Sheraton Crescent Hotel, Aramark Foodservice, and The Flamingo Hilton, Laughlin, before moving to Texas to open a historic restaurant in Abilene. In addition to creating cakes and pastries for catering events during the past 13 years, Deborah has been working as a high school culinary instructor. She has received accolades for her work, including Pride of Peoria 2011 and the Visible Difference Award 2012. Deborah is a certified Certified Pastry Culinarian(CPC) and a Certified Secondary Culinary Educator(CSCE) through the American Culinary Federation.

William Stein / Adjunct Faculty- William Stein has been with the Maricopa County Community College District since 2009 as an adjunct instructor at multiple campuses. He holds an AAS in Culinary Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and a Master of Science in Industrial Management from Northern Illinois University. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix. He has worked as a contract chef with local catering companies and is a passionate, self-described "foodie", budding wine aficionado, and has filmed several cooking episodes for the Internet. He is a Certified Associate Wine Steward with the Federation of Dining Room Professionals and a Certified Wine Steward with the International Sommelier Guild. William continues to work toward Certified Sommelier status and is working on his second vintage of wine production.

Vince Tinajero / Adjunct Faculty-Vince Tinajero joined Estrella Mountain Community College in January 2011 as adjunct instructor for Quality Sanitation Management (HRM244). He is the owner of Arizona Food Safety Professionals, a restaurant consultation company located in Chandler, Arizona. He is a registered Certified Instructor and Proctor for both ServSafe and Prometric. Vince was previously the owner and CEO of Awesome Eateries LLC, a deli and catering company operating in Southern California.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and is a member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF).