40 SPC Students x 30,000 Guests = The 2019 Cowboy Breakfast Project

January 23, 2019

Public Information Officer


As donations to the Cowboy Breakfast Foundation’s scholarship fund for study in the hospitality professions at SPC pass the $150,000 milestone in 2018, the community event grows each year

The 41st annual Cowboy Breakfast with support from the students of St. Philip’s College is Friday from 4:30-8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Cowboys Dance Hall at 3030 N.E. Loop 410 at Interstate 35 North, and all are invited to attend. 

The world's largest breakfast event traditionally includes a class of St. Philip's College students giving back by preparing food to professional standards and receiving scholarship funds from event proceeds. While a reported 30,000 guests, about 40 St. Philip's College student participants, and a $20,000 scholarship presentation highlighted the 2018 Cowboy Breakfast lineup, in its annual season of service, the January early morning event has become the college’s first program of giving back while school is in session. Some of the participating students may already be recipients of scholarships from the Cowboy Breakfast Foundation that has funded both full- and part-time scholarships for students in the college’s highly rated hospitality professions program since 1999. Donors visit the college each year to encourage the students and ground themselves on exciting new upgrades to the hospitality program that enjoys a 111-year legacy in 2019. From 2007-to-2017, 80 students have been awarded a Cowboy Breakfast scholarship through $125,000 in giving back, according to an Alamo Colleges District source. While 17 students were scholarship recipients in 2016, and six students were also recipients in 2017, the 10 recipients of 2018 included current second-year student Dana Nault and 2018 alumni Joseph Humrichouse, Anita Helmkamp, Itza Pantoja-Matos, Neve Espinoza, Jasmin Madrigal, Valerie Martinez, Stephanie Perez, Anayeli Aguirre and Eileen Munoz.

The Cowboy Breakfast experience is substantial. One 2017 Cowboy Breakfast project alumna who graduated in December---Deborah Weiss, made the breakfast one of three once-in-a career student projects. Weiss was a member of a trio of St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Department students who shadowed and supported great chefs when San Antonio and New Orleans wrapped up their respective Tricentennial observances with a specialist foodie event Dec. 3 in the Tre Trattoria restaurant of the San Antonio Museum of Art. And Weiss began her final semester last year by promoting American culinary culture and her college in the gastronomy capital of France during Gastronomy Week as part of the college’s international exchange program in Paris. 

2018 scholarship recipient Dana Nault is a military spouse whose stay in Italy with her husband and soldier Travis informs her current passions for preparing pasta, her newer passions for preparing cuisines of Mexican origin, and her combined passion for writing about both for the college’s student run literary journal.

“This is my last season at St. Philip’s College, and I hope to return to serve at the [2019] Cowboy Breakfast this week. My husband’s a drill sergeant with two phones on him at all times. I’m up at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. with a six-month-old baby anyway, so getting up early would be no problem. It’s a pressure cooker and I got a great scholarship out of that [Cowboy Breakfast] experience, and I did it last spring when I found out I was pregnant,” Nault said of her 2018 Cowboy Breakfast service. “I’ve never seen or imagined so many people who like tacos as much as people at the Cowboy Breakfast. They were good too,” a beaming Nault said of her 2018 tacos.

Visitors who want to experience a local tradition with a global reputation will love the Cowboy Breakfast as much as the regulars who have thronged to the event for generations. The event brings attention to the hard work organizers do to give back through the community-focused foundation team who invented the event that unofficially kicks off America's rodeo season as it accepts donations for scholarships for study in the hospitality professions at St. Philip's College. For many, it’s their only chance to go rustic and be country-tough for a day. Guests have fun watching the transition from dark to light skies and the surprise of seeing just how many people are there, sort of surreal-but-fun, like a surprise party featuring foods of the North American subtropics that can be seasoned for mellowness or to give a bit of heat. Several community organizations and many towns in the state have developed their own version of an event genre made famous by San Antonio’s Cowboy Breakfast.

Those who cannot attend can still be part of the experience online through the event web page where donations toward the scholarship fund are accepted year-round at http://thecowboybreakfast.com/donate.html. Second-year students in the college’s hospitality professions programs receive $2,000 for the academic year as recipients of the scholarship. And as donations to the scholarship fund for study in the hospitality professions at SPC passed the $150,000 milestone in 2018, the community event grows each year.

Returning to the Cowboy Breakfast site for 2019, the college will have a 70-foot long 18 wheeler---part of its wildly successful Professional Commercial Driver’s License program---on display for guests during the event sponsored by Jordan Ford as well.

For information on Cowboy Breakfast scholarships and donations, contact Cowboy Breakfast foundation chairman Chuck Christian at Chuck@NMCRES.com or foundation vice-chairman Roy Schultz at RoyS@thecowboybreakfast.com.

About the St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts department: Recognized as exemplary by both the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the American Culinary Federation, the Tourism, Hospitality, and Culinary Arts programs at St. Philip’s College http://alamo.edu/spc/THCA/ leverage a 110-year legacy of preparing practicing and aspiring hospitality industry professionals for success and service in their industry by offering degree and certificate candidates academic programs in five primary occupational areas along with one full-time faculty member and multiple adjunct faculty members to work directly with students in each area. All five programs involve students in classroom-based learning experiences, as well as lab experience, and work-based learning during a practicum course. The culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and restaurant management programs have been acknowledged with an Exemplary rating from the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission. St. Philip’s College is one of only 25 schools worldwide with the commission’s Exemplary status and is rated Exemplary by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The 110-year-old St. Philip’s College hospitality professions programs typically graduate 100 students annually, and expansion is expected this decade when the college opens its $30 million Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center of Excellence building funded as part of a $450 million bond package approved by voters in May 2017 to both construct new Alamo College District facilities and renovate existing college buildings. Students graduating from the management programs: Hotel Management, Hospitality Management, and Restaurant Management are eligible to receive Certified Hospitality Graduate (CHG) certifications from the Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration™. Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts students are eligible for Certification by the American Culinary Federation. The CHG is an industry-recognized professional certification that has been granted to only three hospitality programs in the state of Texas and only one program in the college’s service area. Since 2014, the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management San Antonio has offered the college’s alumni opportunities to transfer to one of the world’s top three hospitality programs. For information on registration in the college’s program, contact the department staff at 210-486-2315 or book reservations with the staff of the college’s student-operated restaurant by calling 210-486-2328.

CAPTION: Archival images of St. Philip’s College students behind-the-scenes at the world’s largest breakfast are a reminder that the first leg of the annual Cowboy Breakfast project is the breakfast on Friday from 4:30-8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Cowboys Dance Hall at 3030 N.E. Loop 410 at Interstate 35 North. In the images above, students, donors, food and scholarships are celebrated at the 2018 breakfast. (Archival SPC images)