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Culinary & Hospitality Schools Adapting

 
The world of < a href="http://www.chefsworld.net">hospitality and culinary schools are changing. From the students that are attending the schools to the curriculum thats offered, todays learning centers are better prepared than ever to turn out the next generation of professionals. Theyre adapting to a new educational paradigm that better suits todays learning styles while also laying the groundwork for future trends.

At the second day of this years Buyer Interactive Trade Alliance & Conference (BITAC) F&B sponsored by Hotel Interactive which is taking place this week at the Bellagio Las Vegas an educational panel featuring high level educators focused on whats happening on the college level.

One of the more interesting trends is the type of student thats attending these schools, which seem to come down on two sides: American kids looking to find celebrity chef style success and an ever increasing of foreign students looking to gain a foundation of knowledge.

As much as the approach of the celebrity chef is benefitting and promoting our industry, but we need to explain that they wont necessarily be celebrities, explained Damir Juric, Assistant Professor in Table Service with The Culinary Institute of America. What I am trying to promote here is if hospitality becomes a decent profession for middle class students and they embrace their jobs. Hospitality jobs is somewhat perceived as being subservient and that needs to change.

Pat Moreo, Professor & Chairman F&B Management with UNLVs College of Hotel Administration, said their professors must be clear on the realities of attaining such a high level of success because it is so unusual. We tell them from day one you are not going to walk out of here being a manager or a celebrity chef, noted Moreo who also noted student bodies are getting more diverse.

According to Carl Boger, next generation students are increasingly from around the world. The next group is going to be made of immigrants. They have a different culture. What does this mean? When you watch students from immigrant families you see they are willing to work harder, and most of them are very bright, said Boger. Here comes the scary point. The current generation our children will have to compete in a much more competitive environment than they have ever before. I think there is a bright future.

And though the Millennial generation has been getting a lot of flak for being unmotivated and disinterested in working hard, Alex Susskind, a professor at Cornell University said you may have to adapt teaching methodologies, but these students are as smart as ever. What I see is that it is a different generation. Its a different world and as educators we need to do what we can do to reach them. Im pretty fortunate that we have a cap on our program weve got 820 bright students in my program that I get up excited to teach every morning, said Susskind.

Terry Umbreit, Director of the School of Hospitality Business Management agreed. Just in the last few weeks Ive interviewed 80 students for our scholarship program. They have nice resumes and present themselves well. They have to earn their way in and they are very serious about it, he said.

Susskind said that at Cornell, professors try to teach all aspects of the business to better prepare students for the future. In fact, the school has a program in place to drive entrepreneurship. We have an institute for kids who have a great idea. They can come in and use our seed money and open a business, Susskind said noting that a couple of students have already opened restaurants in the area surrounding campus through the program.

Washington States Umbreit said that the new buzzword on campus is student engagement. When you get young people to work in teams they love that. They feel they can contribute immediately and feel good about it, said Umbreit.

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