HFC launches first bachelor’s degree program

DEARBORN — Henry Ford College will launch its first four-year degree program – a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts — with the start of the Winter 2016 semester.

The new degree represents an enhancement to HFC’s award-winning Culinary Arts program and responds directly to industry needs, school officials said.

Today’s hospitality professionals must demonstrate strong business management expertise and exceptional culinary skills to be competitive and successful, Eric Gackenbach, who serves as academic coordinator of HFC’s Culinary Arts & Hotel/Restaurant Management. Well-paying management positions in the expanding range of hotels, travel destinations, restaurants, food and food service companies continue to increase, along with the need for well-educated, experienced leaders.

“The multidisciplinary approach to hospitality education with the Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts builds on the strong technical skills and hands-on lab experience students receive through the college’s nationally recognized Culinary Arts associate degree program,” Gackenbach said.

“Students will further their business and managerial skills while developing industry-specific front-of-the-house (the service and management functions outside of the kitchen), cooking, baking and pastry, and leadership abilities to expand their career prospects. The four-year curriculum also emphasizes the arts and sciences to prepare students for a career in any segment of the hospitality industry.”

Gackenbach, who holds a master’s degree as well as Certified Executive Chef and Certified Hospitality Educator credentials, worked with faculty, staff and administration for several years to achieve this milestone for HFC.

Gackenbach said the bachelor’s program is different than other degree programs in hospitality management at other four-year educational institutions for several reasons. The program provides hands-on lab classes versus traditional instruction in a classroom setting. Students will study and practice cooking and baking, study and practice service, and study and practice supervision and operations management. Students must also complete two internships during the four-year program.

HFC maintains open enrollment to anyone with a high school diploma or equivalent. After earning acceptance to the college, students can enroll in the associate’s degree program in Culinary Arts and the associate’s degree program in Hotel/Restaurant Management as their program of study.

After approximately two semesters and completion of the Culinary Skills Certificate (or a transfer equivalent), students can request admission to the Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts degree program.

Some careers in the culinary arts field include: executive chef, sous chef, pastry chef, restaurateur/business owner, food, beverage, bakery manager, corporate hotel executive, media personality, food writer,research chef and culinary educator.

“We’re proud to be the first department at HFC to offer a bachelor’s degree,” Gackenbach said. “Our Culinary Arts and Hotel/Restaurant Management programs have benefitted many place-bound adult learners who are now leaders in industry.

“We look forward to offering this additional credential to our traditional base of students, as well as those who come from further away to experience what we have to offer. Dearborn is a great place to visit, work and live, not to mention is close to many high quality employers in the hospitality industry.”

For further information, go to www.henryfordculinary.com, contact Gackenbach at 313-317-1572 or via email at epgackenbach@hfcc.edu.