May 11, 2022

San Diego Mesa College Foundation Gifted Mesa Alum Funds to Accelerate Business

By Ashley Atkinson & Beverly Fruto

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Mesa College Culinary Arts alum Inno Pamaran was recently gifted funds by the San Diego Mesa College Foundation. Each year, the Foundation provides funding for departments at Mesa College to use how they see fit. Tonya Whitfield, Professor of Culinary Arts at Mesa College, had kept in touch with Inno, and was aware that he was facing challenges in scaling his businesses.

Inno owns two companies, GudMudFud and Melk. GudMudFud creations are sold in restaurants around San Diego County, including Tambayan Filipino Bbq & Grill in Spring Valley and Machete Beer House in National City. GudMudFud uses the kitchens of these existing restaurants to serve customers in a “ghost kitchen” format. The company is known for producing creative dishes that reveal Inno’s zest for fusing Filipino and American cuisines, such as cheeseburger lumpia and ube Philly cheesesteak. Melk specializes in bakery items and sweets, including Inno’s popular ube bread, a traditional Filipino bread made from a purple sweet potato. Other Melk confections include the popular Filipino dessert “halo-halo”, ube jam bread pudding and rolls, and various sweets using pandan, a tropical plant that has a vanilla flavor with a hint of coconut. Inno’s creations, such as his ube bread, have been featured on the Kettner Exchange restaurant menu.

In addition to keeping these two bustling businesses going, Inno is also involved in the Sunday service at People’s Church San Diego. The Sunday service organizes one Sunday a month, and often includes various food and merchandise vendors. Alongside Provecho Coffee Co, Inno’s businesses provide cookies, pastries, and sometimes halo-halo French toast or loaded tater tots at these pop-up church events, serving customers café-style.

Professor Tonya Whitfield recently spoke with InnoInno mixer about what he was struggling with in scaling his businesses. Inno shared that he was unable to get his special dough made in large enough quantities to keep up with demand because he was doing everything by hand. Therefore, he was not reaching his production goals due to equipment constraints. He was using restaurant kitchens after hours in the beginning. Since his production capacity has increased, so has demand for his creations. After speaking with Michael Fitzgerald, Professor of Culinary Arts Management at Mesa, Profs. Whitfield and Fitzgerald agreed that their program could help Inno reach his career goals by using Foundation funds to purchase a 20 quart mixer and proof box, the two pieces of equipment that Inno requires to move his businesses to the next level. Recently Whitfield and Fitzgerald worked with Inno in a cooking competition for the National Chef's Roll. Inno won the grand prize for his original dessert with plantains.

Follow Inno’s journey on the following Instagram pages: @gudmudfud, @melk_bread, and @sundayservic.

San Diego Mesa College offers the courses needed to earn a Culinary Arts Degree or Certification. As one of only a few culinary programs in the nation that operates a classroom-driven restaurant that's open to the public, students gain first-hand experience modeling food preparation techniques, food safety, sanitation, and menu planning while working with modern equipment in newly renovated facilities. Coupling professional development and technical adeptness with a foundation in business practice, students gain the culinary management skills needed to provide seamless service and run a lucrative business. Guided every step of the way by attentive program faculty, Mesa College’s Culinary Arts/Culinary Management program helps cultivate an appreciation for food that spans far beyond its physical construction to connect students to long-held traditions, cultures, and people from across the globe. Students discover their unique talents within the fields of culinary arts and hospitality and bring continued vitality to the culinary industry as they begin their careers and/or continue their education at another culinary arts college.

To find out more about Mesa’s Culinary Arts/Culinary Management program, please visit:

Founded in 1976, the San Diego Mesa College Foundation partners with San Diego Mesa College and passionate members of the community to support student success. Together, San Diego Mesa College and the San Diego Mesa College Foundation create pathways of opportunity by ensuring access to a college education for hardworking people from all walks of life to achieve their dreams for a better tomorrow. By investing in Mesa College and Mesa students, we can affect positive change in our community and transform lives.

To find out more about the San Diego Mesa College Foundation, please visit:

Tags: Tonya Whitfield, Michael Fitzgerald, Culinary Arts, Alumni, Mesa Professors