Last month, amid a flurry of work-related travel, I got to sneak a peek at the new Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute in Little Rock. This Monday, August 19, the facility will open its doors to its first group of students.
Director of Programs Todd Gold took me on a tour on what happened to be my birthday. Although I have already graduated from the program, previously held just across the parking lot at PTC’s South Campus, I felt like I was getting a present.
Suffice it to say, I am extremely jealous of the students who get to attend here. At least I’ll have the opportunity to teach a food writing course here and possibly some gluten-free community classes soon! I’ll let you know when we have dates and details.
I’ve already written extensively about this new facility and what it will offer, but I found out a couple new details during this tour.
First, the institute is pioneering a new program, called Pulaski Tech 3D, to enable young adults with developmental and learning disabilities to train for jobs in foodservice and hospitality. According to coordinator Linda Ducrot, this innovative program will begin with just a few students but will grow with demand and capacity. It will feature an 18-month structured daytime program covering the basics of professional conduct, food preparation, safety and hospitality, also offering these students the opportunity to continue to degree programs if they choose. Those interested in attending the program can find more information on Pulaski Tech’s website.
Also, the institute plans on a new marketing approach, aiming to draw regional and international students in addition to those from Arkansas. Gold said this is a natural evolution, being the only major accredited culinary/hospitality program in the state and one of few in the region, with the added advantage of being a lower-cost option to private institutions such as the Culinary Institute of America, using much of the same curriculum. Gold doesn’t aim to grow the program substantially in numbers anytime soon, though, taking a quality-over-quantity approach as the program grows into its new facility over the next few years.
On the down-low, there’s talk of a big grand opening ceremony later on this year, possibly with a chef or two of national reputation. I haven’t heard a lot of confirmation about all that, as they’re just doing what’s needed to get school started on Monday for now. If you just can’t wait to see the facility, I hear you can stop by at 7:15 Monday morning for the first official walk-through before classes start.
Pulaski Technical College
Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute
13000 Interstate 30
Little Rock, AR 72210