Culinary education in Arkansas’ public colleges and universities has boomed in recent years, and educators say they’re placing their students in jobs before they even graduate.
The institutions are responding to demand from both students and employers with new facilities or plans for new facilities. Ozark College in Melbourne broke ground in September on a new Student Services Center that will house what it describes as a “cutting-edge” culinary learning lab. Northwest Arkansas Community College’s Culinary Arts & Hospitality Program is at capacity in its headquarters at the Center for Nonprofits in Rogers and is considering new quarters.
And then there’s Pulaski Technical College’s gleaming new facility, the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Institute, a 60,000-SF, $16.5 million building off of Interstate 30 in southwest Little Rock. In addition to sleek culinary, baking and butchery labs, the facility features a “celebrity chef theater,” wine studies center, mixology lab (what most folks would call a bar) and dining room.