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Defining culinary careers

Attracting a significant percentage of Indian students, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago has a strong focus on academic excellence and diversity. The institution has strategic plans for this market including organising the first Kendall Culinary Cup Competition next year. By Sudipta Dev

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Founded in 1934 by the name Evanston Collegiate Institute, in 1950, Kendall College was renamed in honour of Washington National’s founders, Curtis P Kendall and his family. With a strong belief in globalisation, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts fosters multiculturalism and provides access to an international educational experience. “As part of the Laureate International Universities network of accredited colleges and universities, Kendall offers students unprecedented access to study-abroad programmes and internships in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia,” says Christopher Koetke, vice president, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago.

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Christopher Koetke

In 2013, almost 15 per cent of the institution’s total international student population was from India. There are many factors that attract international students to Kendall College School of Culinary Arts. “Some students are here because they’re inspired by food and love to cook. Some love to travel and dream of an international career in hospitality. The basic strategy to attract any student is to provide them with a road that is destined to a bright future,” says Koetke, adding that the institute offers an immersive, hands-on approach to learning combined with career specific internships that makes its graduates desirable to potential employers. He believes that a financially as well as socially secure environment with an opportunity to learn something new everyday is what Kendall College aims for. In 2013, while 40 per cent students enrolled for School of Culinary Arts, 30 per cent opted for Baking & Pastry Associate Degree Programme, 15 per cent for International School of Business, and 15 per cent for the School of Hospitality Management.

The institution has continuous learning programmes for professional chefs like the accelerated programme in Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. There is also a Sous-Vide Online Training Programme which gives chefs a chance to acquaint themselves with the growing culinary techniques. “Earning a degree from Kendall College can help differentiate you from other candidates. Kendall is well recognised within the industry and a Kendall degree may improve your ability to compete for better and higher-paying jobs,” mentions Koetke.

One of the greatest strengths of the institution is its faculty, which is passionate about mentoring students, and helping them achieve success. “The faculty is designed to take every step with the students in their journey towards earning their college degrees, working with them as full partners in their education,” asserts Koetke. A certified executive chef and certified culinary educator by the American Culinary Federation, in 2009, Koetke was named the Cooking Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

India plans

Kendall College School of Culinary Arts is working with its educational consultants in India to host the first Kendall Culinary Cup Competition in 2015. The winner of the cup will win free admission to one of Kendall’s summer camps. “The camps are designed for high school students between the ages of 13-18. Our summer camps are hands-on and taught by qualified Kendall instructors at Kendall’s Goose Island campus in Chicago,” informs Koetke.

The institution will also continue to nurture its relationships with the culinary industry and chefs throughout the country. “It has been such a great pleasure to meet and work with such a fine group of chefs at the ITC, The Taj and JW Marriott hotels, for example, as well as all the others who have joined me in each city I have visited to discuss about sustainability, food trends and a career in culinary arts. This enriches not only me personally, but also our students and faculty as a whole,” avers Koetke.

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