The Center for Culinary Excellence on Johnson & Wales University’s Providence, R.I., Campus opened this spring, elevating the bar on culinary education across the globe. The 82,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, the first of its kind in the U.S., is designed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, and supports the university’s socially responsible and sustainable food practices and mission.
The $38 million facility features leading-edge equipment in a diverse array of production environments, and supports JWU’s industry-relevant curriculum. More than 2,500 culinary students annually will be educated in the Center, which contains 30 teaching labs and classrooms, many incorporating individual induction work stations.
The facilities include:
- 9 hot kitchens
- 2 garde manger
- 2 bake shops (including an artisan bread lab)
- 7 pastry and chocolate labs
- 2 meat-cutting and fabrication labs
- 3 dining rooms
- An oenology lab, a separate microbrewery and a mixology lab
- Academic learning space.
The building was designed with intensive input from faculty. Their experiences in labs and classrooms inspired the architects to create facilities that would meet fast-changing industry demands, and support JWU’s career education model.
Building upon a foundation of culinary taught as both craft and art, the university’s curriculum integrates a well-rounded education in the liberal arts with business and management classes, hands-on learning, community and leadership opportunities, and work experiences related to a student’s major.
At its Providence campus, JWU’s College of Culinary Arts offers associate degrees in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts, and bachelor’s degrees in Culinary Arts & Food Service Management, Baking & Pastry Arts & Food Service Management, Culinary Nutrition, and Baking & Pastry Arts. Some of the other more innovative classes that students can take in the new building include Nutrition and Sensory Analysis, Oenology, Neo-Classic Desserts, Advanced Decorative Breads and the Sommelier Capstone course.
In addition, all of the university’s culinary programs are taught against a background of social responsibility, to instill tomorrow’s industry leaders with a sense of ethics and a respect for the environment. Students also have the option of taking the new Wellness & Sustainability concentration, which includes such classes as Conscious Cuisine, Sustainability in the Culinary Kitchen, and Plant-based Cuisine, among others. â€˜The College of Culinary Arts has enhanced its curriculum to reflect growing concerns over health, nutrition and artificial ingredients,â€™ says Karl Guggenmos ’93, ’02 M.B.A. â€˜This new facility will also help us strengthen our Gold Standard for Food Safety initiatives, as well as sustainable food practices.â€™
Constructing an environmentally-friendly facility was a natural fit for this educational approach. Using universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria; LEED certification is a green rating system that encourages sustainable building and development practices.
The inviting interiors are designed so natural light streams though. Bike racks encourage carbon-free commuting, and a white roof and light concrete reduce the impact of reflected heat released back into the environment. Rainwater is captured through a recycling system and used to irrigate the landscape and reused in the restrooms.
â€˜In keeping with the building’s LEED design, students will collaborate with faculty on green housekeeping practices while reducing water and energy use,â€™ says Guggenmos. â€˜They’ll also maximize recycling efforts, reduce the use of chemicals, and increase the use of local and organic products.â€™
â€˜Not only is this building in keeping with our strategic plan,â€™ says University President John Bowen Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ77, â€˜it has elevated culinary education at Johnson & Wales and across the globe.â€™
Johnson & Wales University (JWU), founded in 1914, is a nonprofit, private institution with campuses in Providence, R.I.; North Miami, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Charlotte, N.C. A recognized leader in career education, it offers accredited degrees in business, hospitality, culinary arts, technology and education to more than 16,000 graduate and undergraduate students, representing all 50 states and 98 countries.
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