Culinary Arts Program in Florida Earns Top Honors for Sustainability

Kendall College and the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ) presented the 2014 CAFÉ/Kendall College Green Award to Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) in Miami  at CAFÉ’s 10th-anniversary national Leadership Conference for foodservice educators, held in metro Salt Lake City.

Karin J. Davis, a chef-instructor and registered sanitarian at Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts in Chicago, presented the award, which was accepted by Chef Ana Plana, an adjunct culinary instructor at MCI, at CAFÉ’s general-session breakfast at Salt Lake Community College’s Miller Campus in Sandy, Utah. 

Christopher Koetke, CEC, CCE, HAAC is vice president of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and the Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts and oversees evaluation of entries for the annual CAFÉ/Kendall College Green Award. He says MCI, although a relatively new program, stood out among this year’s entries.

“MCI blends technology, sustainability, and culinary education to set the pulse of Miami’s cuisine and food culture,” Koetke says. “The eight-story institute is an architectural and engineering marvel that focuses on exceptional space utilization and generating a limited carbon footprint. Meanwhile, students are offered a curriculum steeped in green-sustainable food and energy technologies.”

Opening its doors in the spring of 2011 at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus in the heart of downtown Miami, MCI turned up the heat in the autumn that year with the debut of its rooftop restaurant, Tuyo, touted as a fusion of New World cuisines. 

The opening menu was engineered by award-winning South Florida chef Norman Van Aken, officially recognized as one of the “Founders of the New American Cuisine.” “Tuyo is the crown jewel sitting atop the Miami Culinary Institute,” Koetke says. “It infuses its trailblazing menu with MCI’s approach to the culinary arts, setting the table for food-culture innovation by focusing on environmentally sound practices and drawing upon foods grown locally and in the institute’s organic garden.”

As 2014 recipient of the Green Award, Miami Culinary Institute received a $1,000 grant, an engraved plaque, and a complimentary full registration for an MCI representative to attend CAFÉ’s Leadership Conference.

The annual CAFÉ/Kendall College Green Award, sponsored by Kendall College, is the first national award to recognize secondary and postsecondary culinary arts and baking/pastry programs for their commitment to sustainability and teaching its tenets. The objective of the award is to build the body of sustainability resources in foodservice education. Selection criteria are based on the integration of sustainability into educational programs and/or operations. 

Miami Culinary Institute joins previous Green Award recipients Cascade Culinary Institute, Bend, Oregon, and Metro Tech High School, Phoenix (2013); Seattle Culinary Academy (2012); Colorado State University’s hospitality-management program (2011); Technology Center of DuPage (2010), Addison, Illinois; and Johnson & Wales University’s Charlotte, North Carolina, campus (2009).

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