By John R. Hall
There is a real gem in the Muskegon community and it’s located at Baker College. It’s called the Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) and it recently earned a distinguished. The CIM received official Recognition of Quality Culinary Education from the World Association of Chef’s Societies (Worldchefs). The CIM is the only school in Michigan to achieve this global endorsement, and one of only four U.S. institutions to gain this recognition.
“This recognition is very important to what we do every day, striving to provide top quality education and excellent student outcomes,” said Thomas Recinella, CEC, AAC – Dean of Culinary at CIM. “We do this with accreditation; and our Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Programs are accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC).”
According to Recinella, the recognition allows the program to take its curriculum, process and programs as a whole and weigh them against a global standard. “To receive this recognition from the Worldchefs is an outstanding accomplishment that can be attributed to our faculty, staff and the support we receive from the greater Baker College community,” he added. “The CIM is now recognized internationally as having high quality education and student outcomes.”
Baker College has offered its culinary arts program for over ten years on the Muskegon main campus. In 2009 the program moved from the Muskegon main campus to downtown into a new CIM facility. Around that same time the CIM started its Baking and Pastry program and its Food and Beverage Management program. In 2012 Baker College expanded the CIM brand to Port Huron.
There are currently 70-plus students enrolled in culinary programs at CIM Muskegon. Graduates can be found all over the country, working in every type of establishment that the industry has to offer. Private clubs, hotels, resorts, health care facilities, retirement communities, private restaurants, wineries, microbreweries etc. Many own their own business as well, such as food trucks independent restaurants and catering.
Recinella noted that CIM Muskegon just recently won a Gold Medal in the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Knowledge Bowl Team National Championship this past July at the ACF National Convention in New Orleans. CIM Muskegon students also participated in the International Produce Show and Conference, cooking in the annual produce culinary challenge exhibition this past December in New York City, which is an invitational event.
“Our students can feel very good about this global recognition as can our faculty and staff but we never want to rest on our laurels,” Recinella said. “It is critical to weigh our process and programs against an external standard. We strive to excel every day, day in and day out.”
Founded in 1911, Baker College is Michigan’s largest, private not-for-profit college and the top transfer school in the state. Baker College has multiple on-ground campus locations and two affiliate sites across the state, as well as an online global campus offering more than 100 academic program options for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Learn more at www.baker.edu.