Belinda Brooks teaches baking and pastries to Kendall students, giving them a survey of a variety of pastry applications. She launched her career in front- and back-of-house positions with both Aramark and Sodexho Marriott. Brooks then decided that baking and pastry was her true love and left to study at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Since graduating, she has worked with Spago's catering division and the Standard Club, both in Chicago.
Brooks is a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago with a degree in Hospitality Management.
Students who dream of operating their own bakeries will certainly find Heidi Hedeker an invaluable resource. She grew up in the business, working in her family's bakery on the Northwest side, Gladstone Park Bakery. Hedeker went on to own her own shop in Wicker Park, Alliance Bakery, chosen as Best Retailer of the Year by Culinaria in 2000. Along with hands on experience, Heidi is a food writer who has served as editor for Baking Magazine and holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in writing. She is a certified master baker and is currently at work on a therapeutic baking and pastry program for disadvantaged mothers and daughters called “It Bakes a Village.” Heidi has an MSW from University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration (2009).
We are pleased to have Melina Kelson-Podolsky, a Certified Master Baker, on staff at Kendall College. She sits on the board directors of the Bread Baker's Guild and on the Advisory Board for Growing Power. She is an active member of Les Dames d'Escoffier. She has traveled the world and speaks Hebrew, Italian and Spanish. Kelson-Podolsky has also broadened her culinary skills by working in both sweet and savory positions with caterers, bakeries patisseries and restaurants including James Beard Award-winning Spiaggia and Brasserie T.
Kelson-Podolsky holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Ithaca, plus a Pastry Certificate from Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. She taught at CHIC for four years before coming to Kendall College.
As a teenager, Mark Kwasigroch got his start by washing dishes at the Gladstone Park Bakery on Chicago's northwest side. There, he learned the basics of the craft and moved on to work for The Little French Pastry Shop, major hotels, Reuters Bakery and the Tel Aviv Bakery, where he learned the art of kosher baking.
Kwasigroch’s love for baking brought him to Michel’s French Pastry Shop. Chef/Owner Michel Tournier provided further training and later sold him the Winnetka Patisserie. While creating pastry for North Shore events, Kwasigroch was twice featured on NBC's The Today Show. His industry experience also includes technical baking consulting and sales management for bakery products companies.
After completing his studies in the field of Culinary Arts from Mumbai, India, Siddharth Mangalore worked for a decade in some of the finer pastry kitchens around the world and in Chicago, such as The Peninsula Hotel and The Chicago Yacht Club. His quest for continuing education has since continued under various master pastry chefs such as Ewald Notter and Ralph Gottschalk.
Along with teaching the art and skill to a new generation of pastry chefs, Mangalore's prior experience as a Career Services Counselor allows him to counsel and guide students in making the right internship and career choices.
Erika Webb began her culinary journey following an inspirational cross continent tour of Europe during the early '90’s. Sensing a deepening interest in the pastry arts, she pursued training at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Chicago, under the leadership of pastry chef En Ming Hsu. She’s also worked at other notable Chicago restaurants, namely Charlie Trotters and Tru. An interest in specialty baking led her to Royale Icing, Inc. where she gained skills in cake decorating and gumpaste techniques.
Chef Webb holds a B.A. in International Ministries from Moody Bible Institute, an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts from Triton College, and a certificate in Chocolate Showpieces and Candies from the French Pastry School.