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New Dean Named to Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts

Peter Lehmuller, Ed.D., has been appointed dean of the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University (effective July 1, 2013). He was most recently the dean of Academic Affairs at the university’s Charlotte campus and has relocated to the university’s flagship campus in Providence, R.I.

Lehmuller assumes his new position at a time when culinary-arts education is undergoing a profound assessment by both its peers and critics. The field is increasing in scope, requiring both experiential education and a more extensive college education to succeed. JWU is at the forefront of this turning point as it advances its academic programs to reflect the trends and demands of the industry.

During the past three decades, JWU’s culinary academic programs have evolved from an associate-degree program to include bachelor-of-science degrees in Culinary Nutrition, Culinary Arts and Foodservice Management. Currently, JWU culinary faculty and administration are developing a new curriculum expected to deepen a student’s knowledge required by the foodservice industry, as well as the fields of science and health. The university is also exploring post-graduate programs that will raise the level of a graduate’s value in the workplace.

In his role as dean of the College of Culinary Arts, Lehmuller says, “This is a phenomenal time to be in the hub of culinary academics. I am looking forward to the changing direction that JWU has set to achieve in the near future. We are at a crossroads where the demands of the industry and the betterment of society require graduates to have more complex set of skills and knowledge in order to succeed.”

Recently, Johnson & Wales has collaborated with Chef Chris Young, a biochemist and co-author of Modernist Cuisine, to explore science-based cooking, and with the Tulane University School of Medicine for a program that unites doctors and chefs through the teaching of culinary medicine. 

“Peter brings a solid balance of culinary experience and higher-education insight that will, in his new role, strengthen and support the College of Culinary Arts as it expands in curriculum, direction and significance,” said Frank Sargent, Ed.D., J.D., JWU interim provost. 

Lehmuller joined JWU in 1995 as a member of the faculty of JWU’s Norfolk Campus. In 1997, he was promoted to its director of Culinary Education before his 2003 selection to the inaugural academic team of the Charlotte Campus. With the opening of the Charlotte Campus in 2004, he became its first director of Culinary Education, a position that later evolved into being designated a dean. As that campus grew, he served as its interim college chair for both the School of Arts & Sciences and the College of Business. In 2010, following a national search, he was named the dean of Academic Affairs at the Charlotte Campus.

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Lehmuller obtained a bachelor-of-arts degree in history from the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany. When a friend introduced him to The Culinary Institute of America, he realized he could pursue his love of food through an associate-degree program. As a student, he had the opportunity to intern with Thomas Keller at La Reserve in New York City. He served as the personal chef to New York State Governor Mario Cuomo and later honed his skills in San Francisco under two European master chefs.

Lehmuller holds a doctoral degree in education from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and a master’s degree from Old Dominion University. A member of the Order of the Golden Toque, he has been the regional Consellier Culinaire for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, South Central Region, since 2005. He holds several professional certifications, including a USDA certificate in food technology from Kansas State University. In addition, he has been the JWU representative to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and a past member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Task Force on Prevention.