Last week I was pleased to be part of a very special groundbreaking ceremony for what will soon be the Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Theatre at Fox Valley Technical College. So what was special about this groundbreaking? From my perspective, this project exemplifies the College working with an industry, in this case the food, restaurant, and hospitality industry, to create an incredible resource that will benefit students, the community, and the industry.
This industry didn’t just talk about their needs for culinary workers; they shared our vision for a demonstration kitchen (a culinary theatre) and stepped forward with pledges, cash contributions and equipment donations. Culinary/Hospitality Department Chair, Chef Jeff Igel, and Director of Food Service, Mike Ciske, took the lead on working with their industry partners to garner support for this project. And President of Jones Dairy Farm in Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin, Philip Jones, made the lead gift that really got the ball rolling on raising a total of $500,000 toward this project.
There is nothing better than to have many people and many organizations take ownership in a resource such as this right from the start. Below is a rendering of this theatre which will get underway shortly. It is scheduled for completion in December 2012 and many, many people look forward to experiencing demonstrations and culinary delights in this facility. My special thanks to the work and generosity of everyone involved over the last year of planning and resource development to make this project a reality!