Baker College wins awards for culinary program

Gage Hess. Courtesy Culinary Institute of Michigan

A Muskegon college received three awards this year from the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education. 

Baker College’s Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) received several honors from the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ) for the college’s community outreach programming and student and faculty achievements. 

CAFÉ, in partnership with the Idaho Potato Commission, selected CIM student Gage Hess as CAFÉ’s first-ever Student of the Year. Hess, who is pursuing his degree in culinary arts, received a $1,000 scholarship prize and an upcoming October trip to the annual Idaho potato harvest.

CIM Instructor Chef Justin Kinziger II earned 2022 Postsecondary Educator of the Year Honorable Mention. In addition to his work in the culinary classrooms, Kinziger also serves as American Culinary Federation Western Michigan Lakeshore Chapter president and leads CIM’s sustainability committee.

Chef Justin Kinziger II. Courtesy Culinary Institute of Michigan

CAFÉ also awarded CIM with its Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Community Outreach award, which included a $1,000 prize. The award was submitted by CIM program director Jamie Leroux, who provided instances of the school’s commitment to giving back to West Michigan, such as CIM’s ongoing event and fundraising support for Every Woman’s Place, a Muskegon County nonprofit that provides support for women and children who experienced domestic and sexual violence. Other local nonprofits that benefit from CIM Muskegon’s support include Kids’ Food Basket in Grand Rapids, Rotary Club of Muskegon and several local veterans organizations.

“The Culinary Institute of Michigan is committed to giving back to our neighbors in West Michigan,” Leroux said. “We aim to involve our students in diverse community projects that benefit both their educational pursuits and the communities where we all live, work and learn.”

CIM offers associate degree programs focused on some of the fastest-growing areas of food service. CIM students, who can study culinary arts, baking and pastry or food and beverage management, learn from experienced industry professionals and develop technical skills through hands-on learning.

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