By Paul Lussow, Kendall’s President
I recently sat down with Brian Schreiber, a 2010 B.A. in Culinary Arts graduate and member of the Kendall field marketing team. In his role, he interacts with local high schools, community colleges and leaders in the culinary industry, including organizations like the National Restaurant Association’s Prostart and the American Culinary Federation, to learn how these relationships increase opportunities for students and faculty alike—both on and off our campus.
In 2010, you competed in the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition—taking home the Mystery Basket prize. Tell us about that experience.
The competition helped open doors for me. I received a scholarship, but more importantly, the experience allowed me to build my network. A few weeks later, I volunteered to help out at a competition, Hamburger Hop, where I was assigned to help at Terzo Piano, the restaurant at the Art Institute of Chicago run by Chef Tony Mantuano. I always encourage students to take advantage of every opportunity because of moments like this. Half way through the event, the chef was so impressed by my skills that he instantly offered me a job.
You worked at The Gage, Henri, and Terzo Piano, cooked for more than 167,000 people at the Kentucky Derby and even for First Lady Michelle Obama before joining Kendall as a full-time staff member. Why is your role as the National Accounts Lead so valuable to students and faculty across not just Illinois but the country?
When I first joined Kendall, my primary task was to reach out to local high schools to host cooking demonstrations and promote our college. Now, my role is much more nuanced. I have the opportunity to work closely with leaders and members of professional associations, and work directly with high school students to help them find success in the industry.
With every partnership we form, I assess an association’s needs, which means I focus on what their instructor-members’ goals are, as well as the needs of the students they serve, to learn how we can improve everyone’s experiences. That’s led Kendall to partner with organizations not only to train their members, but also to work directly with students to train them for competitions.
A notable example is our partnership with Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), which allows instructors to earn continuing education units while they learn how to coach students in these competitions and provides them with curricula they can use in their classrooms. FCCLA also hosts a diverse group of students at their national conference—more than 7,500 this year—for a culinary competition and workshops. I help train the Illinois team and I’m proud to share that they’ve received second place two years in a row. Students who place receive scholarships to Kendall. We also present workshops to students and each attendee receives a $1,000 participation scholarship to Kendall.
I know you keep in touch with the scholarship recipients who choose to attend Kendall. Can you share one of their stories?
Absolutely. I trained Martha Guerrero on the FCCLA national team. She is the first in her family to attend college. Her team placed second in the national competition last year, and first at state, which meant she earned scholarships to Kendall. She’s about half way through the A.A.S. in Culinary Arts program and always has a big smile on her face. She’s loving every minute of it.
Ultimately, my goal for every partnership we build is to positively impact students and faculty members across the country—which will result in many more success stories in the years to come.
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