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Marriott foundation funding brings culinary lab to professional level

Food preparation class, Marriott Culinary Lab(Editor's note: The Marriott Culinary Lab will be dedicated at 2 pm. April 18 in the lab, Chilton Hall, Room 322. UNT officials will be joined by Marriott executives Mark Brooks, area general manager of Marriott International, Inc., and the chair of the Marriott Business Council; Bob Jameson, area general manager of Marriott International, Inc. and a member of the College of Merchandising Hospitality and Tourism Board of Governors; and John Negratti, market director of human resources for Marriott Hotels.)

By Nancy Kolsti, News Promotions

Hospitality management students now have a facility equal to some of the finest Food Network kitchens to learn cooking techniques: the Marriott Culinary Lab.

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation committed $300,000 to the then-School of Merchandising and Hospitality Management to match $300,000 in Higher Education Assistance Funding for renovation of the culinary laboratory, which was created in the early 1990s. The renovated lab opened last fall.

The school is now the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism.

Instruction in the Chilton Hall laboratory is required as part of the Introduction to Professional Food Preparation class. Its 128 students also are required to enroll in a laboratory section.

Introduction to Professional Food Preparation is one of the required courses for undergraduate students who are majoring in hospitality management. The major prepares students to work as managers in all areas of the hospitality management industry, including restaurants, hotels and resorts, cruise ships, schools and hospitals.

Jodi Duryea, lecturer, food preparation Jodi Duryea, left, lecturer, and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, teaches the introductory class. The renovated lab has 16 student work stations, with two students working at each station. The lab retained its stoves  work stations, but the Marriott Culinary Lab is new in every other area, Duryea said.

“The lab is more like the industrial kitchens that the students will see when they graduate and get into the hospitality management industry,” she said.

The renovated culinary laboratory’s cabinets, work tables and the instructor’s demonstration table are stainless steel, replacing wooden fixtures. The laboratory, which formerly lacked a dishwasher, has an industrial-strength dishwasher. Mixers and broilers will allow instruction in a larger variety of cooking techniques, including baking, Duryea said. 

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation is dedicated to helping youth secure promising futures, particularly through education on the secondary and higher education levels, mentoring and youth leadership programs.

“When we see an effective program with strong leadership, we want to give to that program in some way,” said Anne Gunsteens, executive director of the foundation. “UNT’s hospitality management program has an excellent job placement rate and active involvement in the industry and this new culinary lab will benefit students in the program by preparing them to become dedicated professionals.”

More than 770 undergraduates were enrolled in hospitality management courses during the 2011 spring semester, ranking UNT’s degree program the seventh largest in the nation for enrollment among U.S. colleges and universities that offer hospitality management

“We are grateful for the generous and ongoing support of the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, and we thank them for helping us create a state-of-the-art lab for our students to hone their culinary skills,” said Judith Forney, dean.

Lea Dopson, chair of the hospitality management program, called the laboratory “an exciting addition to our facilities that will enhance the quality of the learning environment for our students.”

“The Marriott Foundation gift underscores the tremendous support we receive from industry partners for our ever-growing program,” she said.  

(Photo by Michael Clements)

Posted on: Wed 11 April 2012

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