“Once you know things like the knife skills and the basic sauces — the fundamentals — you can really branch off and be creative and make anything you want,” she said.
But the certificate is about more than just cooking. Besides the culinary class, students also study sanitation and first aid, nutrition, baking and human relations management.
Students take three classes the first semester and three classes next semester. By the end of the year, they’ll have the certificate and be ready to head out into the workforce.
“These days, most places want you to have experience for an entry level job, but it’s hard to get that experience if you can’t get a job in the first place,” Kirk said. “So this is nice because it gives them that experience.”
As one of the first certificates offered at the Ivy Tech instructional site in Peru, Kirk said it’s a pretty great program for a small town. And it has the potential to get much better.
“We’ve been pretty flexible and resilient here at first, so the classes are going well so far this year … We haven’t burned the kitchen down yet,” she said with a laugh.
“I think what we have for our first year doing this is really good, and it has the potential to grow if the interest continues to grow,” Kirk added.
Once students get the certificate, they also have the option to transfer to another Ivy Tech campus to get an associate’s degree. From there, they could head to Purdue University for a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management.
“It’s a great way for students to get a solid start … close to home,” said Theresa Murphy, executive director of the Peru instructional site. “Students can get nearly all of their coursework done right here in Peru and then either commute or temporarily relocate to finish up the degree. That’s a huge savings to students and their parents.”
For more information about the new culinary arts program in Peru, call the Peru instructional site at 765-473-7281.
Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at email@example.com.