Peggy Ryan, a culinary instructor in the School of Culinary Arts and daytime executive chef of The Dining Room at Kendall College, was recently named 2009 Educator of the Year by Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR). She will receive her award at the organization’s national conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C., on Nov. 3.
WCR’s Educator of the Year Award recognizes excellence in culinary education and honors a woman whose dedication to teaching is making a difference to the culinary community.
“She pushes her students to their greatest abilities, and then some,” says Christine Sathern, who nominated Ryan for the award and who is a teaching assistant pursuing her bachelor’s degree in culinary arts at Kendall. “Chef Ryan is my one true inspiration in this industry.”
Ryan was chef and owner of Va Pensiero in Evanston, Ill., before joining Kendall, and under her management, the restaurant received many outstanding reviews in Chicago and suburban newspapers, as well as Zagat. She relies on her strong background in Italian cooking to teach related electives at Kendall, including Italian Pastas, Cuisine of Italy and Cuisine of Tuscany.
With 31 years of culinary and management experience, Ryan brings a unique and well-rounded perspective to her teaching. “I impress upon students that you’re not going to be anything without customers,” she says.