How to Climb the Ladder of Success: Tips from Walnut Hill College Alumni

By Kevin Ellul

If you didn’t know already, the culinary world is fueled with flames, sharp knives, hot kitchens, and tattoos. However, the industry isn’t all about those things; it €™s more relevant to Hospitality- hence, the Hospitality Industry. Chefs, Managers, Bakers, Restauranteurs, and Waitresses and Waiters all take part within this industry to make others happier. Below are 3 alumni of Walnut Hill College who participated in this interview:

Marie Stecher, Pastry Chef Instructor: Walnut Hill College.

Marshay Wallace, Senior Event Operations Manager: Renaissance Chicago Downtown

Frank Olivieri, Chef/Owner: Pat €™s King of Steaks.

Where did you see yourself in 5 years, prior to graduating? Where are you now?

€¢ €œI saw myself as a Pastry Chef of a Restaurant in Philadelphia or California €¦I have come full circle, I am now a Pastry Chef Instructor at Walnut Hill College. € €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œI saw myself working corporately or in a restaurant €¦I am the Senior Event Operations Manager at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown, which is a part of Marriott Hotels. € €“Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œI was in the process of running my family €™s 80 year old business, Culinary School was more of a bucket list. Presently still running my family business; however, I have a dream of opening my own restaurant to fulfill my passion of cooking. € €“ Frank Olivieri

How did you get there?

€¢ €œI worked 10 years in the business, in hotels, bakeries, B&B €™s and restaurants. I knew I wanted to teach all along, but the opportunity came up sooner than expected. A friend had told me, Walnut Hill was looking for a pastry chef, I was looking for a change at my current job, so I sent in my resume. I interviewed with the Director, did a tasting, and got the job! € €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œI first started working for Hyatt Hotels as an Assistant Outlets Manager in Philadelphia, from there I moved to Reston, Virginia and was the Assistant Outlets Manager. I then went to the Grand Hyatt DC as the Assistant Banquet Manager. I then realized I missed being home in Chicago, and Marriott had a position open and I moved to Chicago. There I became the Banquet Manager at the Renaissance and then got promoted to being the Senior Manager. € €“ Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œI got here (my family €™s business) because I have been working at the same place since I was 11 years of age and now, I €™m 53! € €“ Frank Olivieri

Tell us what it’s like in a “Real Life” Kitchen?

€¢ €œA lot more crazier things happen then what is on reality TV, but I am sworn to secrecy. I loved working in the kitchens. Its hard work, but if you work with a good team anything is possible! I was lucky I worked with some really talented people and chefs in the industry. € €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œDefinitely different than being in school. The reality is that there are times where you work with others who don €™t share the same passion and enthusiasm as you do and for them it €™s just a job. There are times when you have to look a little harder to find the joy in what you do. But overall, its fun and I love what I do! € €“ Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œIt €™s the most exciting thing to be working in the kitchen, whether you’re flipping cheesesteaks or working in a brigade. The industry that we are in is the most progressive and creative of all industries. Having instant ratification and customer review is important €¦ so you have to be on your €œA € game every day. € €“ Frank Olivieri

What would you change about your experiences?

€¢ €œI would definitely travel more. I do regret not going to Europe to do a stage. I think that experience would of helped me develop more as a chef. € €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œCurrently nothing. I €™ve realized that although I have a plan for my life, sometimes those plans don €™t go the way I thought they would. So I €™ve learned to find the good in each experience and to make sure that I walk away knowing and learning something that I didn €™t know before. € €“ Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œI was accepted to Cordon Bleu in Paris in 1982; however, I wanted to run my family business instead. I do have some regrets about not being in Paris, although, the education that I have received over the many many years is just as valuable as if I had attended Cordon Bleu. However, going back to Culinary School later in life showed me how to enjoy the educational process once again € €“ Frank Olivieri

What tips would you like to share with current students, and/or incoming students?

€¢ €œWork hard, be professional and try to stay with a place for at least a year. Read as much as you can about food and the industry trends. Eat out and travel as much as you can (and can afford). I was once given this advice and I still follow it: €˜Always take the job that will get you to the next job, don €™t go backwards. €™ €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œDefinitely be a sponge and soak it all in. Gain relationships with the instructors and Chefs; take this time to explore yourself and the many facets of this industry and find what it really is you want to do because there are so many paths and positions within this industry. More importantly, enjoy this time and have fun. The experiences and education that you receive here is priceless. € €“ Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œIf I can give any advice to my fellow classmates or students whom are presently within the culinary program, I would say: Follow your dream, don’t become discouraged- you’re fortunate enough to be involved in one of the most exciting career €™s out there. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, always be willing to listen to someone else €™s advice (it might help you in the long run). € €“ Frank Olivieri

I want to thank the individuals who’ve participated within this blog. It means a great deal to the students, staff, and our college.

To check out these amazing hospitality industry enthusiasts and their place of work, visit their websites by clicking on their name!

Marie Stecher

Marshay Wallace

Frank Olivieri

If you are an Alumni of Walnut Hill College (WHC) and would like to join our Alumni Association, please click here!

€œBecoming a member of our Alumni Association means that you will join a diverse network of industry professionals who all got their start at Walnut Hill College just like you! €

You can also check out different success stories of WHC Alumni, as well as, career opportunities affiliated within our reach.

-Kevin Ellul, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, Class of July 2017

Lessons in Foodservice & Hospitality at HX: The Hotel Experience Show

By Nicolas McLellan, B.S. in Culinary Arts Candidate, Graduating July 2017

Ah, New York City. The only place where you can spend $500 on a tasting menu with a wine pairing and then eat a $2, albeit delicious, food cart hot dog. A culinarian €™s wonderland! Given New York €™s reputation for setting food and hospitality trends, it would only make sense that an event for foodservice professionals, students, and various food technology companies would occur, right?

Correct! Formerly the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show, HX: The Hotel Experience aims to provide trends, new equipment, and plenty of networking spread over three days, usually in November. (Mark your calendars for 2017!) To provide some background as to why I attended the Expo, I €™ll have to give a shout out to Ms. Brooks and the Hospitality Engagement Club, who kindly asked me to represent Walnut Hill College at this year €™s HX. Of course I jumped at the chance, booked a ticket for Amtrak, and was good to go. So let €™s fast forward to Sunday, November 13th.

Armed with a smile on my face, coffee in hand, and WHC pin on my suit jacket, I was beyond ready to absorb information, fill my wallet with business cards and my belly with free samples. After a quick 10-minute walk from Penn Station, I entered the Javits Center, got my name tag and entered HX. Being a culinary student, I €™m drawn to shiny equipment and anything that can shoot out flames like a jet engine, so it only made sense to check out the Hestan Commercial booth, which consisted of a beautiful oven suite boasting four open-burner stovetops, a French top (a solid cast iron stovetop that houses the flame beneath the metal), and a plancha (for searing proteins).


After picking my jaw up off the floor due to the equipment €™s finesse and beauty, I discussed various customizations and some local clients with a Hestan company representative. I continued to marvel at other stoves, ovens, and even a soft serve machine, which I was a huge fan of due to the free samples I received!


Another great aspect of HX were the numerous conferences held, one of which covered the idea of commercial kitchen designs/makeovers. What I found most interesting was a statement by one of the gentlemen on stage, who tied in the almost too famous quote, €œIf you can €™t stand the heat €¦ € you know the rest. He stated that, in a study done by a hospitality research company, if the temperature goes above 10 degrees an employee €™s comfort level, their productivity level decreases by 30%. Food for thought, and an interesting mention! Other topics discussed were the right questions to ask regarding kitchen design, such as kitchen design flaws (hooking up a gas line to a steamer instead of a water line–yikes!) and keeping an appropriate and steady budget. These are all things that I found important, especially if someone wants to open their own operation.

My final piece, a sweet ending if you will, involves the topic of something we all know and love. Male or female, short or tall, Democrat or Republican, everyone loves chocolate! The story takes a nice turn at this point, caused by my fellow Bachelor student Kenan Rebah meeting me for this portion of my day! The last presentation, hosted by the former pastry chef of the world renowned Le Bernardin, Chef Michael Laiskonis, was hands down my favorite. Now the Creative Director for the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in NYC, his main focus is the Bean to Bar process of chocolate making. In novice terms, this means that Chef Laiskonis receives the dried cocoa beans in his lab, roasts them, and then separates the cocoa nibs from the shell during a process called €œwinnowing. € He then grinds, presses the cocoa butter, and refines the cocoa liquor, at which point he adds sugar and other additives, such as milk powder.

After the refining process, conching is done, and this step improves texture and promotes moisture reduction. Science (and my own experience) proves that water and chocolate do not mix, so you get the idea! One last note to touch upon is that Chef Laiskonis has been experimenting with aging the chocolate bars he makes. It may seem odd at first, but when put in the same rich category as wine and cheese, the decadent sound of €œAged Dark Chocolate € sounds great. We were given samples of chocolate from June, and it was amazing! I noted flavors of slight smoke and a lot of citrus. After indulging in a bar or two, Kenan and I spoke with Chef Laiskonis about his role at ICE and discussed checking out his chocolate lab, and we even got a picture!


In a nutshell, HX is extremely valuable to young hospitality students because of ALL the exposure achieved. From the connections made in the undisputed restaurant capital of the world (Philadelphia is becoming close competition!), to the industry leading professionals discussing current and future trends, to observing just how vast our field really is, I truly enjoyed my experience and encourage my fellow students at Walnut Hill College to check it out in the future!

An International College Student Experience

By Kenan Rabah

Leaving your hometown and moving to the big city for college is a very big step and hard decision to make. However, imagine the struggle of these students who left their countries and moved to the other part of the earth, just to fulfill their dreams, get the education and experience they are seeking for.

Well, I am one of them! So let me tell you about my experience, shall I?!

My name is Kenan €¦I was born and raised in a small village in northern Israel called Majdal Shams, which is a part of the Golan Heights region. Growing up, I always wanted to be a chef. Perhaps the picture of my grandmother baking the bread on the woods, and the smell of it, is the most memorable, and significant memory from my childhood. Day by day, my passion for cooking and baking started to grow bigger and bigger, until I decided that this was the path I wanted to take and that would be my career. Of course, living in that community where people think that cooking should not be more than a wife preparing food for her husband and children, was challenging. People in Majdal Shams thought that I was crazy to move overseas and spend my money, just to be a chef. However, they didn €™t know that a chef presents passion, creativity, pleasure, and success. I kept my ears closed and stayed with my decision no matter what it was going to cost me. I also wanted to prove to these people that you can be successful without being a doctor, or engineer, and set an example for all the youngsters over there to follow their dreams and passion €¦despite what others may think. But, I was lucky enough to live with a very supportive family, who has always been there for me, to lift me up, and give the freedom to choose and be what I want to be.

I remember one day after my parents came back from their trip to the U.S.A, and my father came up to me with a college application from Philadelphia, and it was a huge surprise for me. I never thought I would go this far to achieve my goals! America was a dream for me and many friends, a place where opportunity, success, and fun exist, but it was too far. After many tries of contacting different colleges in France and Britain, I didn €™t find the best choice for me, and I was really upset and concerned about it. Without telling me, my dad called his friend who lives in Philadelphia and asked him about culinary colleges around. He told him about Walnut Hill College, and immediately looked the college up and called the admissions office to see what I needed to apply and get accepted. My dad handing me that application that night was probably the happiest moment of my life. Not just because that I am going to America, but wherever I go I will know that there is a great family who cares and loves me.

The process of getting my student visa, and getting ready to leave was really smooth, and there were no problems at all. The college admission rep, who I thank very much, helped me so much to make sure I had all it takes to pass the interview at the embassy, and always checking to see if everything went well. Feeling that the people at the college cared about me made me more comfortable and excited.
The big day was January 23rd 2015 €¦all my luggage was ready to go and there was just one last thing that had to be done before leaving, and for sure it was the hardest thing €¦saying the goodbyes. Saying goodbye to your friends who you spent the greatest times with, or your brothers, and sister who you lived, laughed, loved, and cried with €¦ or your mother or father who are your life €¦ is not easy at all. It felt like throwing everything you built away, and it is a tough feeling. Yes, I felt sad, and cried so much, but never felt that I wanted to give up and just go back. I knew that there was something so big and beautiful waiting for me, and my best days were ahead of me.

Finally, after a very long flight, I arrived to Philadelphia €¦the big city. It was a huge city with so many people, so many buildings €¦ like nothing I have seen before. It was a little bit scary at first especially that this was my first experience living in a big city. The next day I woke up, had my coffee with my dad (who came with me to make sure that everything was good before starting my classes) and got ready to go check out the college. I remember how amazed and happy I was when I first saw the college, especially the great European courtyard €¦I loved it, and all my fears and concerns just went away. My first term wasn €™t easy at all because everything was different and new in my life €¦new country, college, language, people, and even lifestyle, but with the help of all the chefs, instructors, college staff, and colleagues, I passed, and kept passing all the other terms, until I graduated with my Associate of Science degree in Culinary Arts in July of 2016.

Difficulties I faced during my program

1- As an international student who came to the United States with a student (f-1) visa, you should be aware that you are not eligible to work in the country, and from the other hand, the college policy requires the students to finish internship hours (total of 240 hours for culinary students) working in restaurants or food corporations. But DO NOT WORRY! There is always a way to make it happen. You are allowed however, to do a non-paid internship, where you work and get experience in change (that €™s what I did), or you can finish your internship hours at the college €™s restaurant. Moreover, you can always fill out an application (i-756) that will allow you to work 20 hours a week during your program and 40 hours a week during breaks. All this information I got from the Vice President of Administrative Services, Ms. Peggy Liberatoscioli. She really did and continues to do her best to help me and make sure all my documents and files are good.

2- Walnut Hill College provide the culinary and pastry students a week-long trip to France after finishing the Associate degree, and for the management students a trip to the Bahamas. If you decided to finish the bachelors program as well, (that I highly recommend) you will also be going on a trip to England. These trips are to make sure you get a great learning experience at the top places, in hospitality industry. That might be challenging for the international students because you might need a visa to travel to any of these places, and that would take a little extra time and work from you, but believe me, it €™s totally worth your time and effort.

Check out the Tour of France, England, and the Bahamas here!
3- As an international student coming to any city in the U.S.A., you will see that there is huge cultural diversity like nowhere else, so you will be expected to pay very close attention to how you treat other people from different cultures because something acceptable in your culture might not be in others.

My overall experience at Walnut Hill College has been the best one in my life! No doubt that it was challenging in so many levels at first, but here I am, just finished my Associate degree, came back for my bachelors, and I was really honored to be selected as part of the Student Leadership Development Institute! The Student Leadership Development Institute has also been an amazing learning experience not just for my career and professional life, but for my personality and how to be a good leader and set a good example for others in every decision you make and action you take!

-Kenan Rabah, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, Class of March 2018

How to create a Restaurant grade menu €¦

By Kevin Ellul

Creating a menu takes a lot of time and thought as you need to be creative, articulate, and generally simplistic. Saying this, your customers should be able to read your menu with no problem; articulating vocabulary to the simplest form for better understanding. Throughout this article, I will discuss the components of creating a menu, from cuisines and themes to tastes, textures, and the initial development of a dish and menu.

Creating a menu entails that you have a determined cuisine or a diversity of cuisines that work well together. There are many cuisines in the world, with few being first choices. These include: French, Italian, Chinese, and Spanish. Many chefs modernize traditional dishes aimed towards a cuisine; today they tend to set a theme and create their dishes using research, seasonality, and creativity.

Many restaurant owners theme their restaurants to attract customers. Look at Olive Garden; A very popular Italian influenced restaurant with a set house menu. Theming restaurants and menus are important because it €™s what attracts the customers to dine. Themes also include seasonality- specifically using ingredients available within certain seasons. Themes can be anywhere from countries, certain dates, or focused on one specific ingredient (ex. Mushrooms). Courses are also considered a €œtheme €- primarily pertaining to tasting menus (a multiple coursed menu). Many restaurant €™s offer tasting menus, which are constantly changing, or a house menu, which is consistently the same every day.

Tastes and Textures
Think of tastes and textures as the initial food and ingredients. For example, a carrot could exemplify a texture; using it either raw for a crunchy texture or cooked for a soft texture. To a chef, tastes and textures are a big part of menus. Incorporating as much flavor and texture in a dish creates an excellent dining experience €¦ for the consumer and the chef. One interesting factor is color; color reflects taste as you eat with your eyes first. If you create a dish that has a neon yellow sauce, you would think of lemon; however, it might not be €”which creates an interesting reaction to the mind and palate of the consumer.

The human palate has a total of five senses of taste, which are: Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Sour, and Umami. Each taste has a different effect on flavors- and some even enhance flavors, such as sweet, salty, and sour.

€œSweet €
Sweetness will cut through acidity and salt and take the edge off of bitterness. Sweetness- specifically meaning €œsugar €, adds a certain depth to a dish, which draws out certain flavor enhancers.

€œSalty €
Salty, one of the most important tastes. It increases depth and enhances flavors within a dish. Just as sugar, salt cuts the unwanted bitterness out of ingredients and draws out moisture within food; therefore, creating more of a moist texture. Salt isn’t the only €œsalt € derivative; soy sauce, cheese, or olives can be used to induce a salty punch.

€œSour €
Sour, primarily acid, is the second most important taste to use while creating a dish. Almost every dish is better with some form of acid- or sourness. Vinegar, lemon juice, soured dairy, or even wine can be used to create a presence of acid within a dish. However, if too much sourness is present, Sugar and salt will help balance it out. The best part about all of these tastes is BALANCE. Balancing tastes and flavors is what a chef loves to do.

€œUmami €
This taste is one that is always there, but is never realized. Umami is described as a savory taste. Mushrooms, steak, cheese, and even tomatoes are of umami decent. The word, Umami, derives from Japanese language, meaning; Pleasant Savory Taste. The taste is really associated with glutamates found in foods containing proteins. A form of umami can be added to foods by using glutamic acid created into a €œpowder € known as MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).

€œBitter €
Believe it or not, all bitter foods aren €™t bad, especially if they are properly balanced. Bitterness derives mainly from leafy greens; however, it can also be found in herbs, spices, dark chocolate, olive oil, and even coffee. The benefits of bitter food are: healthy antioxidants, detoxification properties, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Textures are very distinctive to a dish €™s creation. Texture has a variety of meanings; assume every ingredient as a texture- whether it’s fish, nuts, or ice cream. Cooking techniques pertain to textures as well; sautéing, a high temperature cooking technique, condones a Maillard reaction. It €™s a reaction occurring from mainly any food by the means of browning and caramelization of amino acids and natural sugars occurring within. This reaction isn’t much about just color; however, presumably the flavors associating with it, a roasted-nutty hue.

While developing a dish, one must think about flavor, color, and texture €”as I’ve mentioned. Proper textures, even so, multiple textures, are important to include in EVERY dish. Some components to remember while constructing your masterpiece are: The Main Component (use as a texture), Sauce (sauce, liquid-like texture), Garnish (whichever texture resembles garnish €”a powder can be used as a garnish), Earth (can be similar to garnish, earth resembles herbs, nuts, fruit, vegetables, starch, or edible greens and flowers), and lastly Crunch/Crispy (a crispy or crunchy ingredient, including a crumble). Other textures, which are mostly seen today are silky, spongy, airy, flaky, and gelatinous. These are the best textures for more modern and gastronomic dishes today.

Description is Key; Price is Everything!
Descriptive words and adjectives are what sells the dish! Make sure you are descriptive within your menu and recipes. This will attract the customers to dishes of their likings. No one likes to read, €œfish fillet with skin €, but a €œcrispy skinned fillet of fish €, will sell and look better on a menu. Just as description is key, the price of the dish, finalizes the sale. While creating your menu, efficiently cost your dishes and recipes by the amount of ingredients residing on the plate. Too high of prices might steer your customers away, too little will lose you money.

Developing Recipes and Dishes
The development of recipes is what forms the dishes residing on menus. It €™s what composes each dish to the tee, and informs you of everything from a splash of milk, to a dash of salt. A recipe consists of an ingredients section and a procedure section. Therefore, creating a dish isn €™t easy, everything within the article previously mentioned should be included, as well as, plating style, and the plate itself. Weight, Grams, Ounces, Tablespoons, and Cups are amongst the vocabulary for measurements of recipe development. Vocabulary is very important in a recipe, it should be simple and easy to understand. Chefs generally have their own ways of honing their skills, either creating a dish by blending ingredients or drawing up sketches of their ideas, then executing them.

Here is an example of how to create a dish, then execute your idea, or recipe.

My idea is to create an Haute Cuisine inspired dish; this means it is of French Influence and ultimately of several courses. This dish has modern elegance and fine dining stature. The season is Fall, thus a Fall tasting menu is in order. I will be highlighting seasonal ingredients within my dish, focusing on farm fresh/locally grown and foraged organic ingredients.

The menu is themed €œJourneying into Fall € (captivating fall flavors, colors, and ingredients as the fall season comes closer to an end). I will be representing the second course on a four course menu I €™ve created. I have looked into local seasonal ingredients; I have chosen Trout, Lemons (available year round), Cranberries, Parsnips, and Tarragon. Now that I have my ingredients, the possibilities are endless in what to create with them. I have decided to name my dish: Lemoned Trout.

My question now is, what components do I add to this dish? The Trout will be descaled, filleted, and portioned into 3 oz. skin-on fillets. Next, I will make a compound butter, which is a flavored and aromatic butter and this will consist of Lemon Juice, Zest, Tarragon and Salt. The trout will be sautéed and basted in the lemon-tarragon butter which will coat the fish with an abundance of flavor and reflect crisp, crunchy skin. Now, that I have my main protein thought out, I now need to create the rest of the dish with elements, textures, and flavors. Thinking about components, I’ve decided to Blister Cranberries, making it similar to a cranberry relish, creating a thinned puree of Parsnips (Parsnip Broth), and developing a deep green- flavorful oil of tarragon. After the fish is perfected, the oil is finished, the puree is complete, and the cranberries have blistered; I’ve planned and drawn out my dish in entirety. For my plating, I have picked a shallow bowl with a larger rim. I will place the hot puree/broth onto the bottom of the bowl, spreading it into a thin circle, coating the bottom. Next, I will add about one to two tablespoons of the blistered cranberries directly in the middle of the puree, this will be room temperature. After that, I will add the hot, butter drenched, crispy skinned trout on top of the berries, the skin side will face up- towards the customer. Lastly, the dish will be finished with a slight drizzle of tarragon oil. For Garnish, I wish to add red mustard green frills, and sea salt.

I have created my dish, as well as, an entire menu, you can view it here:


Pickled Fall Salad
Pickled Sharon Fruit, Roasted Beets, Frisse, Candied Pistachios, Coriander Yogurt


Lemoned Trout
Lemon Butter, Blistered Cranberries, Parsnip Broth,
Tarragon Oil


Sunflower Chicken
Sunflower Seeds, Sunchokes, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Potato Gnocchi,
Sage Brown Butter, Sunflower Oil


Deconstructed Apple Pie
Spiced Apple, Walnut Powder, Caramel Sauce, Broken Sugar, Pate Brisse,
Whipped Cream, Apple Chip, Cinnamon Ice Cream

This menu has been executed by myself and a team of students within the Great Chefs Restaurant here at Walnut Hill College. The event was a wine dinner challenge consisting of these four courses and eight wines to taste.

Walnut Hill College presents a Wine Dinner Challenge every month, take a look to see what’s in store for the future and Click Here!

You can also view the Great Chefs Menu here as well!

-Student Leader, Kevin Ellul
Culinary Arts, Class of July 2017

Think Outside the Line: Cooking is more than just the restaurant scene

By Kristine Alfes

Every time I go out, meeting either family, new friends, or talking to anyone else outside of school, I get asked the same question constantly: €œwhat restaurant are you working at now? € It becomes awkward when I have to correct them and say that I €™m working for a catering company and right as the conversation begins to flow again, the realization comes that not everyone knows about the careers outside of line work and the restaurant scene. As incoming cooks in training, chefs-to-be, and everywhere in between in the community that is Walnut Hill College, we all had to write an entry essay describing our future endeavors post graduation of the program. Mine was to be an €œExecutive Chef of a restaurant € but I soon learned that the restaurant scene wasn €™t where I belong, and trying to be an executive in anything I €™m not passionate about won €™t end too well. I soon then turned my mind to focus on private work, catering, and eventually to comprehensive education for the hospitality field (after much needed inspiration from the Chefs here).

Full-service restaurants make up about 47% of the food service industry; it is then followed by limited service restaurants (fast food, cafeterias, etc) that make up about 36% of the industry, according to a study conducted by Oregon State in 2015. The other 14% is divided around various other careers like catering, research and development, private client, artisan products, food distribution, industry education, and more. The majority of Culinary Arts programs touch base on developing skills for a line cook, which isn’t a bad thing at all but as time moves on, career moves may change and questions will come about on €œwhat the next move will be? €

Here is a closer look into the 14% that makes up the rest of the food service industry:


Catering is drastically different from the line, and this form of food service is a good outlet for those who are not into the long nights, rush (or lack there of, depending on the night), and looking to constantly change up their cooking style and profile. This is a career where everything is done in such a vast quantity, and is different from typical line work. Catering companies serve parties from seventy, to two-hundred, to even a thousand people at events like weddings, birthdays, and fundraisers, all in one night. In this type of job, dishes consist of many little parts of a whole image, and most of the time, the menu is not as likely to be repeated. It is a different type of adrenaline rush as everything is done all at once and then once the night is over, you feel great.

Research and Development (R&D)

R&D is used by large corporations such as Campbell €™s Soup, Chili €™s, and companies alike. In this field, the Food Technologist is constantly developing new products for the company to sell. They also make sure food is produced legally, safely, and of the best of quality. If a chain restaurant has new specials, these were tested by a Chef of R&D and then sent the product recipe to the restaurants. This also includes a large amount of science, because the FT conduct experiments, samples, and designing new cooking processes. What if you want to make a line of barbecue sauces made out of red peppers? Develop it.

Culinary Educator

Chef Instructors are the people we look up to as a culinary or hospitality student. This isn’t just specific to college level €¦instructors also teach culinary and pastry in technical high schools. Instructors create meaningful lessons that help students gain hands-on experience, while also developing their professional outlook in the industry. This person needs to be able to not only teach someone at any level, but also be able to inspire the next generation of chefs. A chef instructor even has the opportunity to become certified in their profession through organizations like the ACF. This is a career where learning is always an option, and sharing knowledge is an absolute.

In conclusion, I €™m not saying that working in a restaurant is wrong as everyone has their niche. But, there is more to the food service and hospitality industry than most of us are exposed to. These jobs can be applied to every major here at Walnut Hill College, and with some trial and error, we fall into the places we fit best. Check out the degree program here!

-Kristine Alfes, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, Class of July 2017