A career educator with 42 years in the food business divulges “musts” to achieve the critical successful relationship between culinary graduate and employer.
By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC
Even with unemployment looming as one of our country’s greatest challenges, restaurants, hotels and resorts still struggle to find enough qualified, professionally committed individuals to staff their kitchen brigades. Last count there were somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 schools in the United States with culinary programs. Why is there still a gap between supply and demand?
This year marks my 42nd year in some facet of the food business. I spent 10 years in kitchens from line cook to executive chef after a two-year college program in hotel management. Twenty-six years followed in college-level culinary education beginning as instructor and finishing as the dean of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. During that time I completed both baccalaureate and master’s degrees in related fields and dedicated a few weeks each year working in kitchens to stay fresh. I worked diligently with the American Culinary Federation to earn accreditation for the program, served a few years on the Accreditation Committee and was appointed as the chair of the ACF National Education Committee. This time in education afforded me the opportunity to serve as a member of the 1988 New England Culinary Olympic Team and in 2001 was honored as the ACF National Culinary Educator of the Year.