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Baking and Pastry Program

Baking and Pastry Faculty

Leadership

Leigh Uhlir

Leigh Uhlir
  • Program Director, School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management
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Leigh Uhlir

Leigh Uhlir

  • Program Director, School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management
Leigh Uhlir, Program Director, School of Culinary Arts and School of Hospitality Management, is an alumna of Kendall College, where she earned an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Leigh has served as a core contributing and full-time faculty member at Kendall, where she developed courses and training programs based on her professional experience at some of the nation’s leading hospitality companies and restaurants. During her career, Leigh has led server training at a five-star restaurant and a café and cigar bar at the Four Seasons in Chicago; a divisional trainer for five Las Vegas restaurants for Lettuce Entertain You; implementation specialist for MICROS hospitality point-of-sale systems; and manager and chef for a variety of restaurants in Chicago and Austin, Texas. She began her academic career in 2008 at Le Cordon Bleu College and obtained a Master in Education from American Intercontinental University with a focus in higher education and online learning. Leigh.Uhlir@kendall.edu

Instructors

  • Belinda Brooks

    Belinda Brooks

    • Chef Instructor, Assistant Professor
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  • Heidi Hedeker

    Heidi Hedeker

    • Chef Instructor, Associate Professor
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  • Melina Kelson-Podolsky

    Melina Kelson-Podolsky

    C.M.B., C.E.P.C.

    • Chef Instructor, Associate Professor
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  • Erika Webb

    Erika Webb

    • Chef Instructor, Assistant Professor
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Belinda Brooks

Belinda Brooks

  • Chef Instructor, Assistant Professor
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. belinda.brooks@kendall.edu
 

Heidi Hedeker

Heidi Hedeker

  • Chef Instructor, Associate Professor
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). heidi.hedeker@kendall.edu
 

Melina Kelson-Podolsky

Melina Kelson-Podolsky

C.M.B., C.E.P.C.

  • Chef Instructor, Associate Professor
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. melina.kelson@kendall.edu
 

Erika Webb

Erika Webb

  • Chef Instructor, Assistant Professor
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. erika.webb@kendall.edu
Degrees Degrees

Our accredited Baking and Pastry associate degree program is designed to deliver superior pastry training and applicable business skills.

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Baking Faculty Baking Faculty

Our outstanding faculty come to us with backgrounds at restaurants, foodservice corporations, hotels and other educational institutions.

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Baking Facilities Baking Facilities

Kendall's Chicago Campus features 12 professional grade commercial kitchens, specialized chocolate/sugar and garde manger kitchens and an outdoor bread oven.

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