This piece was first published in Cafe Meeting Place.
On its 80th anniversary, Kendall College’s president envisions a future in which everyone worldwide with a passion for food may pursue their dreams to cook professionally.
By Emily Williams Knight
Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts exists to create agents of change, not only in Chicago and the Midwest, but across the country and globe. We teach people with a passion for food how to put that passion in play in ways that extend far beyond creating convivial social experiences for people. Our graduates have the power to greatly enhance a community’s health and well-being. They leave our campus with ardent commitment to serving and protecting the environment that sustains us. These newly minted professionals, trained in the art of culinary and the business of securing and preparing high-quality food for others, can also help alleviate that which keeps populations worldwide adequately fed yet severely malnourished. Given the immense potential of trained culinarians to bring significant, positive change to all corners of the planet, we in the United States and many other nations are fortunate that a relatively newfound respect for chefs coupled with increasing love of and fascination with all things culinary extends throughout our respective cultures—making it easier to enact real, worthwhile change.
Yet if I could impact anything, it would be that parents in all societies worldwide appreciate fully the pursuit of a career in food by their children as a viable, rewarding life plan rather than undervalued, uninspired labor. It would be that more women in every culture be supported in their dreams to man the stockpots as executives in commercial kitchens while achieving balanced lives that embrace the rewards and joy of cooking professionally. Through the Laureate International Universities network, of which Kendall College is part, we are witnessing and helping shape an evolution in attitudes toward young people, career changers and women entering and excelling in the culinary and baking/pastry arts in nations where these careers were rarely encouraged, and even discouraged, less than a generation ago. That’s a great thing. Because professional training offered to more people with an inherent passion for food will only spread good throughout the entire world.