LBW adding new program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2012

LBW plans to partner with the City of Andalusia, using a commercial kitchen in the carriage house of Springdale for classes.

LBW is one administrative approval away from opening a new culinary program when fall classes begin in August.

LBW president Dr. Herb Riedel is so confident the college’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), will agree to the plan, that the courses are listed in the fall schedule and the school is advertising for an instructor.

The hands-on classes would be taught at Springdale in Andalusia, through an agreement with the City of Andalusia, Riedel said.

“We are currently negotiating an agreement with the City of Andalusia – we have a letter of intent, but we are working on a more formal agreement – to use the carriage house at Springdale where the city is constructing a commercial cooking facility.

“We would use that facility for instruction,” Riedel said. “The time we would use for instruction is going to be complementary to the time it would be used for events; most events there are set for weekends and evenings. We are looking at classes Monday through Thursday in the day time.”

Students would earn a short certificate that includes 29 credit hours of classes in nine months for full-time students.

“The program starts in August, and students would graduate in May,” Riedel said.

Classes would include:

• Foundations of nutrition

• Sanitation, safety and food service

• Basic culinary lab

• Advanced food prep

• Fundamentals of quantity cooking

• Food prep

• Meat preparation and processing

• Stocks and sauces

• Foundations of baking

• Food purchasing and cost control

“There will probably be some minor changes in the course selection once we hire an instructor,” he said. “We have some ability to make changes, but we want to make sure we have the right number of hours so that students in this program can qualify for Pell grants.”

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. The funds do not have to be repaid.

Riedel said an advisory committee worked with the college in the planning stages of this program. Committee members included Brian Reynolds from Cambrian Ridge; Phyllis Murray from Blue Lake; Jason Goldman of Sugar Rush; John Newsome, director of food and nutrition at Andalusia Regional Hospital; Ann Patterson, dietary director at Andalusia Manor; Jimmy Faulkner of Dairy Queen; Sister Schubert, founder of the company by the same name; and Tom Gerlach, retired restaurant owner.

Before the college began working with the committee, it conducted a feasibility study for the program. Surveys were sent to 200 businesses and institutions in the area, and the results projected a continuous need for workers in this field.

State workforce development data for this region projects 165 new jobs in this area in the next year, including entry- and management-level jobs.

“People with a culinary background can work not just in restaurants, but also in institutional kitchens, nursing homes, hospitals, camps, schools, golf courses … any place that has a cafeteria,” Riedel said.

In many places, culinary schools also operate restaurants. While that will not initially be a part of LBW’s new program, Riedel said he hopes to develop that vision once a program instructor is hired.

At the college where Riedel worked in Texas, a culinary program he helped start received the donation of a completely-outfitted restaurant in the downtown area.

“We also worked with the economic development authority,” he said. “What they’ve been doing is opening once or twice a week, and also doing special events.

“You can see where with this program, as it grows, there are a lot of opportunities that would enhance the cultural life in Andalusia,” Riedel said. “This is in many ways a very progressive city, with high quality culinary instruction, this is something that can grow.”

Andy Wiggins, director of operations for the city, said the commercial kitchen at Springdale, designed to be used by caterers at events there, is under construction in the carriage house.