March 5, 2008

Hotelies Host Industry Leaders

Print More

Delicacies like Norwegian lobster tails on mango mint salsa and chocolate mousse with mango and passion fruit sorbet marked chef Michel Roux’s visit to Cornell on Feb. 16. Roux came to Cornell as part of its 19th annual Guest Chefs Series, which brings renowned chefs from around the world to the School of Hotel Administration’s instructional kitchens.
The 24 students taking H ADM 403: Specialty Food and Beverage Operations: Guest Chefs, worked in teams to organize, market and staff the $150-per-person event. Several students assisted Chef Roux in the kitchens of the Statler’s Taverna Banfi.
Born in France, Chef Roux — one of England’s most famous chefs — owns two three-star restaurants, including Le Gavroche in London and the Waterside Inn in the village of Bray. Chef Roux teaches at the Waterside Inn Cookery School, which he established with his brother. [img_assist|nid=28543|title=Flags of Statler|desc=The School of Hotel Administration brings industry leaders from all over the world, including chefs, to work with students.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The Guest Chefs Series is just one example of the Hotel School’s ongoing effort to bring hospitality industry leaders from around the world to Cornell.
The Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series, currently in its 45th year, brings a different industry leader to the Hotel School each week to speak with all freshmen. The speakers offer a wide variety of valuable information, including advice about successful business philosophies as well as promising career paths.
Last semester, the program featured speakers like Donald W. Strang III ’80, president and CEO of Strang Corporation, and Grace Leo ’77, president and CEO of GLA Hotels.
Each year, large numbers of Hotel School alumni return to their alma mater to share their experiences in the hospitality industry with the school’s current students.
Justin Sun ’08, president of the Cornell Hotel Society, sees this alumni involvement as critical to the Hotel School’s success.
“In terms of the extent to which our alumni connect with and help the school, we have the finest alumni network in the nation,” he said. “When alumni come back and speak formally or informally with our students, they enrich the education provided by the Hotel School by relating it to their own experiences in the real world.”
Sun also said that many alumni return to recruit Hotel School students for jobs and internships.
The success of such programs is apparent in the Hotel School students’ feedback.
Jeffrey Weiss ’11, production manager for the Guest Chefs event, said that working with Roux was the type of opportunity that defines the Hotel School experience.
Weiss explained that the students in the Guest Chefs class were divided into three groups, one responsible for production, one for service and one for marketing. After the event, the teams were responsible for preparing a report on the success and efficiency of the dinner.
“Being able to speak with, work with and network with industry leaders like Chef Roux is what makes the Hotel School’s program the best in the world,” Weiss said.
The school’s strong alumni network and hands-on approach play a key role in keeping its application numbers high and its acceptance rate low.
Justin Hauser ’11 said, “One of the foremost reasons I applied to the School of Hotel Administration [was] because it offers the unique ability to be in direct contact with such prestigious alumni. This abundant resource whets my palette for the vast number of opportunities that await me upon graduation.”
The Hotel School’s events calendar includes another Guest Chefs dinner on March 8, featuring Daryl Schembeck of the United Nations Delegates’ Dining Room. Also this spring at the Hotel School, there will be presentations by organizations like the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. and J. Alexander’s Corporation.