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Inside Kendall

Giving Students Early Access to the Industry

The National Restaurant Association is a great resource for students and faculty alike year round. The organization’s annual report helps us hone in on food trends (which I know our faculty are always avidly watching).

While this year’s culinary themes aren’t exactly strangers (chef-driven fast-causal restaurant concepts, sustainability, and street food come to mind), they do point us in interesting directions in terms of ingredients (looking at you coconut milk pancakes, ethnic cheeses, and house-made vinegars). Watching reports like this one influences our curriculum and helps us keep our programs current.

What’s even more powerful than a report, of course, is hands-on experience. That’s exactly what the National Restaurant Association Show provided during its four-day run in May. Kendall students supported both front- and back-of-house operations of all Foodamental Studio sessions, which ranged from the exploration of homemade sodas to flavor pairings to use with poke. We work hard to ensure our students have the opportunity to network and participate in this immersive experience because we know it helps shape them as future professionals.

To truly educate our students, we believe in inviting the community in as well as sending students out to experience the industry firsthand. It gives them the opportunity to meet professionals, network, and learn about volunteer opportunities that can help further their careers. Chicago itself is a global city, which is yet another reason why we must accept every opportunity to collaborate with industry partners. Our participation in the National Restaurant Association Show is just one piece of that larger puzzle.

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