NTC culinary program accredited

Nov 6th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-2: The Future of the Tribal College Movement, Tribal College News
By Daniel Vandever

HOT STUFF. NTC culinary arts major Lionel McCabe sautés vegetable at a catering event for Navajo Oil and Gas in Gallup, NM. The NTC culinary arts program was accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s Accrediting Commission after a site visit in September, 2011 and an ACF national board review in January, 2012.

Navajo Technical College’s (NTC, Crownpoint, NM) culinary arts program has been accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Education Foundation’s Accrediting Commission and earned a three-year grant of accreditation that will last until December of 2014.

The culinary arts program accreditation is the first for a tribal college and was granted to NTC after a site visit by an ACF visiting team last September and a review by the ACF’s national board in January. With the certification, NTC’s culinary arts program will now offer the same standard of education as the world’s most renowned culinary schools according to NTC culinary arts instructor, Brian Tatsukawa.

“It puts us on the map at the same level of every major culinary school, including Le Cordon Bleu,” said Tatsukawa, who is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Scottsdale, Ariz. “It’s also good because it gets the students plugged into the world’s largest culinary organization.”

While the NTC’s culinary arts program will be offering the same educational certification as every major culinary school throughout the country, it will not be as costly. Whereas culinary schools such as Le Cordon Bleu can get as high as $30,000 a year, NTC’s culinary arts program begins at $45 per credit hour for Native American students and can climb up to $90 per credit hour for non-Natives.

“I’m really excited for the culinary program because ten years ago we would have never thought of this,” said NTC culinary arts coordinator, Chef Bob Witte. “I’ve had people in Gallup say they never even knew about our program, but I guarantee they will now. Why go anywhere else if you’re going to get the same certification but for a lot less money?”

NTC’s culinary arts program’s enrollment has been steadily growing with the college since 2006, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the program really took off when it was housed in a new, state-of- the-art culinary and hospitality building.

“Three years ago we were in a cubby hole where twenty people couldn’t get around each other. But then the Navajo Nation helped us with a bigger place, and we’ve just been moving in leaps and bounds since,” exclaimed NTC baking instructor, Joe Chapa. “The certification really brought us to the 21st century.”

For more information, contact NTC culinary arts coordinator Chef Bob Witte at (505) 786-6126 or rwitte@navajotech. edu. For more information on the American Culinary Federation, visit www.acfchefs.org/.

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