F&B is a Great Strategy to Lift the Economy
Christopher Koetke currently heads up the campus strategy and industry relations for Kendall College. Previously, he oversaw the culinary arts vertical for the Baltimore based Laureate International Universities which gives him strategic leadership of culinary programs in 12 countries. He spoke to BW Hotelier about the culinary education.
“A CHEF must be an artist, scientist, and a business person” says Christopher Koetke, who currently heads up the campus strategy and industry relations for Kendall College, Chicago. BW Hotelier spoke to Koetke about the rising importance of culinary education.
Koetke believes that culinary education continues to grow worldwide. “The reason for this is that the world of the culinary professional is increasingly appreciated by society. Additionally, it takes many skills to be a chef these days. They also need to know a wide range of topics like sustainability, nutrition, and a wealth of world cuisines,” he told us.
The importance of pursuing a strong culinary education is an essential first step for someone wishing to enter this profession. “At the same time, there have been an increasing number of culinary schools around the world that are serious about teaching culinary arts, all of which is a great development. It also validates just how important chefs are to society,” said Koetke.
Koetke says as chefs, learning about international cuisines is a source of inspiration. Speaking about India he said, “Inviting international chefs to come to India and demonstrate, lecture, and cook their own food can be very inspirational. It is also possible to use the internet and recorded video to also accomplish this same goal educationally. Of course, there are always events like food festivals where various chefs or international cuisines can be featured.”
Koetke is an expert on international education and has his finger on the pulse of global food, beverage and hospitality trends. He recalls at the age of 12 when he just knew that he wanted to be a chef. “At age 13, I started working in my first restaurant, a local French restaurant where I would go on weekends. Needless to say, it was probably illegal, but it felt right to me. At 15, I moved to another more local restaurant and started working 25 hours every weekend. I guess I was driven, but food and beverage is something that has always interested me and continues to do so to this day,” he told us.
Koetke feels that there are more and more people entering culinary field that are quite gifted and driven to succeed. The reason that Koetke finds behind it is the proliferation of the culinary arts on television and in the media. Adding to this, he said, “We see more and more young people who want to be chefs and are ready to put in the long hours and commitment needed to master the craft. Personally, I find the younger generation invigorating.”
“Creating a strong F&B is a great strategy to lift the economy of many countries. The reason is that it is connected to the hotel and tourism industry which in many countries is growing. If there is a strong culinary, hospitality and tourism sector, this attracts visitors who also spend their money on other things as well,” Koetke concluded.
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