6th Magazine Launch Party

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The sixth Taste of StMU magazine launch hosted over 85 people to try the dishes of 14 different chefs on Wednesday, April 12 in UC-A. Each chef was invited by one of the graphic design students in Brother Dennis Bautista’s graphic design course.

Bautista, professor of English and communication studies, teaches his graphic design course every other semester. Throughout the course of the semester, the students prepare for their magazines. The course begins by offering several tutorials on the programs needed to produce the magazine. After the tutorials, photojournalism tips, gathered content and much needed collaboration from classmates, a magazine is born.

This year the students each created a 12-page, full color magazine. The featured dishes at this year’s magazine launch included Sopa de Letra, Flan de Queso, Canoas, Siracha Chicken Alfredo, Southern Fried Cabbage, Cheezy Pizza Roll-Up, Quickie Chili, Bibimbap, Enchiladas Verdes, Dragon Roll Sushi, Strawberry Jelly Cake, Meatloaf, Tinga and Pizza Rolls.

Along with the graphic design students, faculty, staff and alumni, there were also five professional graphic designer judges in attendance. The five judges included Emily Harris, graphic designer at St. Mary’s; Kristen Cadena, graphic designer at St. Mary’s; Martha Dixon, alumna (B.A. in English communication arts) and founder of 50-foot Creative Design and Marketing; Amanda Rodriguez, alumna (B.A. in English communication arts) and marketing programs developer at Southwest Business Corporation; and Charles Ramirez, alumnus (B.A. in English communication arts) and graphic design coordinator or the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Each judge was invited to attend the event by Bautista. The professional designers were in charge of going through all 14 magazines and voting on the “Professionals’ Choice Award” winner. Everyone else who attended the event also had the opprotunity to cast a vote for the “People’s Choice Award” winner.

The People’s Choice award went to Madison Perales, sophomore communication studies major, and her chef, Ricardo Garcia, who is a senior psychology major. They earned a total of 81 votes from the people who attended the event.

This year, the Professionals’ Choice Award went to Xuanzi Elly Liu [see magazine], exchange student from Beihang University and current junior English major. Her chef was Jsiu Lim, student from south Korea.

Both winning chefs were presented with an appreciation apron that had the Taste of Stmu logo on it. All chefs were also presented with a $25 gift card from one of the sponsors of the event, Fratello’s Deli.

The other sponsor of the event, Henry’s Puffy Tacos, also made the event possible with their generous donations; Aramark also assisted with the event by providing all the heating equipment for the dishes being served.

Everyone enjoyed looking at the magazines, taking a break from their busy day and having a bite to eat from the 14 chefs.


5th Annual Magazine Launch Party

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Chicago-style pizza, Oreo cheesecake cookies, pasta e fagioli and mature graphic design—the 5th annual Taste of StMU launch party provided plenty in which to indulge.

Over the course of the fall semester, students in Brother Dennis Bautista’s graphic design class donned the hat of Editor-in-Chief and scrambled to design, produce and publish their own cooking magazines for the Friday, Nov. 21 launch party in UC A.

Professional volunteer judges selected Mariajose Romero (see magazine) as the winner of the “Professionals’ Choice” award. Their respective “chefs” also received aprons imprinted with the Taste of StMU logo. The some 50 alumni, faculty, staff and Marianists who attended this unique event voted Kyra Littlejohn (see magazine) as the winner of the “People’s Choice” awards.

The magazine launch party gave graphic design students the opportunity to showcase what they have learned throughout the semester by editing and creating their own 20-page edition of Taste of StMU magazine, complete with ads, photographs and stories. The chefs featured in their magazines provided the food for attendees of the event to share.

On the menu were gateway tofu, chicago-style pizza, pasta e fagioli, Tex-Mex breakfast pizza, stir-fried chicken, margherita pizza, lemon pepper salmon, sopa de lima con pollo y elote, ombré swirl cake, crepes, Oreo cheesecake cookies and chocolate marble cake. See Flickr photo album.

German Chocolate Cake

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German Chocolate Cake by Rachel Grahmann
Story and Photos by Adriana Avila

Dessert is often identified as the best part of every meal, while comfort and Chinese food will always hold a special place in Rachel Grahmann’s heart, nothing will ever come close to her love of sweets, specifically homemade German Chocolate Cake.

While cooking is something Grahmann has always loved to do, her true passion lays photography and graphic design. A senior English-Communication Arts major from Victoria, Texas, Grahmann plans to graduate December 2014 and pursue a job in either graphic design or photography.

When she was a child, Grahmann’s family followed healthy eating habits; sweets were limited so she started learning to make some of her own.

“Most people have a sweet tooth; I have a mouth full of sweet teeth. I love dessert. Cookies, cake, anything thing with sugar,” Grahmann says. One father’s day, Grahmann put her cooking skills and sweet tooth to use and made her father his favorite cake, German Chocolate. It quickly became a shared favorite and, assuming from the dessert’s name that it was German, she felt a strong heritage connection.

“It’s not really from Germany. The guy who invented this specific chocolate bar for baking in 1852, – same year St. Mary’s was founded- was named Sam German and the first person to come up with the recipe was a homemaker in Dallas in the 1950s. I feel cheated,” Grahmann notes.

Despite that discovery, Grahmann continues to hold German Chocolate Cake as a favorite and it was her first and only choice of recipe to share. “It’s a lot of fun to create something you can also enjoy so much. It is fun, comforting, and once you learn, fast food and store bought never tastes as good. I just hate the cleanup. The perfect set-up for me would be to find someone I can bake for and then they clean everything up, that part is definitely the worst,” Grahmann says.

Grahmann offers a few tips for baking this sweet treat at home: “Take your time, and make a big mess, but only if someone else is there to clean it up. Also, don’t sample the ingredients along the way; did you know German chocolate bars are measured so that you use the whole bar? Yeah, neither did.”


For the cake:

  • ½ c water
  • 4 (1-oz) squares German sweet chocolate
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 2 c white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 2 ½ c cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 egg whites

 For the icing/filling:

  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 c evaporated milk
  • ½ c butter
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 1/3 c flaked coconut
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3-9 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat water and 4 oz chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and allow cooling. In a large bowl, cream 1-c butter and 2 c sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, and then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Pour into 3 – 9 inch pans Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cooling for 10 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto wire rack.

Filling: In a saucepan combine 1 c sugar, evaporated milk, ½ c butter, and 3 egg yolks. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Cool until thick enough to spread. Spread the filling between layers and on top of cake.

Makes 8 servings.

4th Annual Magazine Launch Party

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For a pre-Thanksgiving feast, more than 60 students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, media communications professionals and guests gathered at the University Center Conference Room A for a Taste of StMU.

Now in its fourth year, the magazine launch party showcased 16 new layout designs and a bountiful buffet of main dishes and desserts.

The winner of the Professionals’ Choice award was Jessica Valles (see magazine), whose partner chef, Beatriz Quesada, made “Watermelon Cake.” The winner of the People’s Choice award was Michelle Kafie (see magazine), whose partner chef, Cindy Kafie, made “Vanilla Cake Pops.”

This year’s menu included tres leches, tiramisu cake, cheesecake, apple crumble, beer-roasted chicken with mashed sweet potatoes, meat and cheese lasagne, Reese’s Peanut Butter chocolate pie, German chocolate cake, monkey bread, rosemary chicken and lemon dressing salad, jambalaya, spaghetti and meatballs, vanilla cake pops, white cheese enchiladas, peanut butter blossoms cookies and watermelon cake.

The graphic design students thank All Events San Antonio, the sponsoring organization, as well as HI Cookery, the Marianist Province of the U.S., Aramark and UC staff, and the St. Mary’s Bookstore for their generosity in supporting this important educational and networking event. See Flickr photo album.

3rd Annual Magazine Launch Party

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The Taste of StMU magazine launch party expanded to a new location with a new sponsor, new donors, a new scholarship, a new university president and two new student design winners for the third annual event on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

St. Mary’s alumnus Jose Trevino of All Events San Antonio sponsored the launch party, establishing the Taste of StMU scholarship to honor the winner of the “Professionals’ Choice” award.

Rachel Grahmann (see magazine) won the scholarship and Professionals’ Choice award as determined by a committee of professional consultants who work in the fields of graphic design, marketing and food catering. New University President Tom Mengler presented her with a certificate along with a St. Mary’s University bookstore gift card. Her respective “chef,” Kristina Garcia, received a commemorative award plate imprinted with the Taste of StMU logo.

Over 70 alumni, faculty, staff and guests attended the event and voted Nick Canedo’s magazine as the winner of the “People’s Choice” award. He also received a bookstore gift card while his “chef,” Kirsten Acosta, received an apron imprinted with the Taste of StMU logo.

The magazine launch party gave graphic design students the opportunity to showcase what they have learned throughout the semester by editing and creating their own 20-page edition of Taste of StMU magazine, complete with ads, photographs and stories. The chefs featured in their magazines provided the food for the event.

On the menu were banana lumpia, red velvet cupcakes, chocolate chip muffins, chicken fettuccine alfredo, blueberry cheesecake, fideo, Hershey’s chocolate cake and bizcochuelo con durazno.

The event also featured a trio of live jazz musicians on piano, saxophone and bass, and a slideshow was displayed which showcased magazine covers and short videos produced by former students—a number of whom were in attendance.

The graphic design class thanks all those who supported the event. See Flickr photo album.