Where are they now? Catching up with Business alumna Kristin Nelson

Where are they now? Catching up with Business alumna Kristin Nelson

Kristin Nelson (’12 Business) loves her industry because “there is never a dull moment running your own business. I never get bored because each day brings new challenges. The best thing about my job besides the kids I get to teach is the variety of tasks you get to undertake each day.” Kristen opened Constructive Chaos, where she is a Co-Owner and the Art Director, in March 2012. The Kendall College Alumni Association... read more

Where are they now? Catching up with Culinary Alum Paige Meagher

Kendall College, March 31st, 2014 | Category: Alumni | Permalink | Email this

Today we spotlight a very talented alum, Paige Meagher, who attended Kendall from 2010-2012. Paige is currently the chef and owner of Brix Catering & Consulting, leading a team of chefs who provide home catering services and lessons. We are thrilled to stay in touch with Paige. Please enjoy our recent Q&A with her!


KC – What made you choose to attend Kendall College?

PM - I was working as an assistant at a reputable hedge fund in Chicago when I realized I wasn’t doing with my life what I really wanted to do in my heart. I toyed around with culinary school for about a year. When I finally came to the college and did my tour, I ran into Chef Dina Altieri, whose energy and professionalism really turned me on to Kendall. Seeing the facility and hearing Chef Altieri’s enthusiasm cemented the decision for me right then and there. It was a very scary (quitting a great job during a crash in the economy) and a very exciting time because I was finally following my heart.

KC – What was your favorite class/classes at Kendall?

PM – I really loved Chef Elaine’s Advanced Fish class. It was one of the hardest classes I took, but I also learned the most. We weren’t just challenged by the daily cooking practicals (which were challenging!), but we were also taught about biodiversity of oceans and waterways and how we can be conscientious consumers every day. I also really enjoyed Fine Dining and Sustainability. Sustainability class opened my eyes to socio and ecology problems that are global. You have to learn about these problems in order to make changes and want to help the earth.

KC – What do you miss most about being at Kendall?

PM – Knowledge Bowl! During my two years at Kendall I participated on the Kendall College Knowledge Bowl Team. It was so much fun learning all the facts and trivia in the Culinary Apps book, Baking book, ServSafe and others. Mostly, it was a great experience with the other teammates. We won the national title in 2011 and took second place in 2012. I’m very proud of that. Chef Altieri was an amazing coach! Her dedication and innate interest in knowledge is always inspiring.

KC – How did your experience at Kendall prepare you for your current position?

PM – Well, without it there would be no Brix Catering & Consulting. That’s for sure. Kendall prepared me with everything I needed to start my business: cooking skills, cost control skills, professionalism. Without Jody Birnbaum’s class on starting your own business, I would not be as organized or successful as I am today. The college is also a supportive resource as we start to build our business. I email Jody about once a month for advice…

KC – What is your favorite thing about working in your industry?

PM – I love that every day is a different day. I love working with people. I love creating something from nothing. I love entertaining. It’s a perfect industry for me. I finally found a place where I thrive and my heart is happy because I am using my hands to create. It’s awesome.

KC – Where do you hope to be in your career in 10-15 years?

PM – I’d love to have our catering & private chef business in full swing with 25-50 employees, a store front with a deli, and an in-house event space where people can come have private dinner parties and take cooking lessons or host wine tastings at our kitchen and dining room, that is set up to look like an at home kitchen & dining room. We are looking for spaces now. I think if you think big the rest will follow. My partner and I work hard and spend all our “free time” on this business, so I think we can make it anything we want.

KC – What’s your advice for current students hoping to enter your industry?

PM – Keep your head down. Learn. Work hard. Ask questions. Pay attention. Enjoy the work! And this one: You aren’t too good for any task. If you want to lead one day, you have to lead by example. Always.

KC – What’s your advice for students trying to decide on whether or not to attend Kendall College?

PM – Kendall is a top of the line school with amazing facilities and dedicated staff. As we learned on our first day,  no one can take your education from you. It is absolutely invaluable. Even if you think you “know how to cook,” you will learn so much more at Kendall.


For more info on Paige and Brix Catering & Consulting, please visit www.brixcatering.com or email paige@brixcatering.com.

Get to know the (new) faculty: School of Hospitality Management

Meredith, March 20th, 2014 | Category: Faculty | Permalink | Email this
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“Adjunct instructors continue to bring the ‘field’ or the ‘real world’ into the classroom.  They interact with students and faculty alike to add a positive vibe to campus,” shares School of Hospitality Management Dean Susan Tinnish. “Adjuncts are a part of our faculty and a great benefit to Kendall students bringing the most current industry knowledge and practices to our students.”

Richard Schell

Richard Schell is joining us to teach the Business and Technology of Sustainability (HOS 235). He is an international consultant on international food, green, agriculture and risk management issues. He is also an experienced presenter, speaker and instructor having presented on the topics of food law and green law in both business and classroom atmospheres. Rich will be bringing this expertise to his classroom to enrich hospitality management students about their understanding of sustainability.

Rich comes to Kendall from his own law practice, Law Offices of Wagner & Schell, L.L.P. This is an international firm with offices in Illinois and Austria which provides international legal services for clients in Asia, Africa, North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe.

Melissa Bingham

Melissa Bingham is teaching our Special Events and Event Marketing class (HOS 482). Melissa has major experience in the event planning field, including the role of President/Executive Producer at Bingham Marketing & Events, as well as formerly being the Director of Special Events at the Indianapolis Art Center. She is a member of industry associations such as the Green Meetings Industry Council, Meeting Planners International, and the International Special Event Society.

Melissa will be using her extensive experience in the events field to teach our students only what true practice can teach.  She has been enriching the course by supplementing lectures with external speakers from the active event planning community.


Kendall College Alumni Restaurant Tour

Kendall College, March 12th, 2014 | Category: Alumni, Around Town, Student | Permalink | Email this
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The Alumni Restaurant Tour was a day filled with delicious food, unique restaurants and generous Kendall College alumni.  We made five stops in Chicago on Tuesday, February 25th and catch up with our alumni who shared a favorite dish (or more!) with us.


Our first stop was Pleasant House Bakery at 964 W 31st St, owned by former-student Art Jackson and Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson ’07, Baking and Pastry Certificate.  The unassuming store front reveals a treasure trove of Royal Pies inside.  The Royal Pies are a piece of culinary artwork you will have trouble finding anywhere else in the city.  They resemble pot pies but surpass in flavor, ingredients and perfect flakey crusts.  Art and Chelsea were generous enough to share with us a variety and they did not disappoint.  If you are looking for something unique that will knock your socks off with delicious flavor, add Pleasant House Bakery to your Chicago bucket list.




Our second stop was La Sirena Clandestina at 954 W Fulton Market, owned by John Manion ’95 A.A.S, Culinary Arts. Before you taste the food you are enchanted by the décor in the restaurant. You might feel like you have traveled to another time and place but once you meet the friendly staff you quickly realize you’re still in Chicago. Chef Manion treated us to some outstanding empanadas that surprised us with the blue cheese filling. La Sirena Clandestina is a great place to try creative Latin American cuisine or belly up to the bar for some creative Latin American cocktails, or both!


Our third stop was Antique Taco at 1360 N Milwaukee Ave, owned by Rick Ortiz ’03, A.A.S. Culinary Arts. Our
traveling group expanded at this stop with more Kendall College staff joining us for lunch. Chef Ortiz welcomed us with a warm smile and outstanding tacos, quesadillas and guacamole. Just when we thought we couldn’t eat anymore, Chef Ortiz sent out another taco or quesadilla to try and sweetened the visit with Horchata milk shakes. Antique Taco is the perfect place to stop for a quick taco and beer that will be worth every penny.


Our fourth stop was Longman & Eagle at 2657 N Kedzie Ave, owned by Jared Wentworth (above) ’96, A.A.S Culinary Arts.  This restaurant fits in perfectly with the vibe of Logan Square but its menu and bar options are what set it apart. Chef Wentworth served us a Tete de Cochon with a sunnyside duck egg on top. This dish looked like art and would have been shame to eat if it wasn’t so delicious!



Our final stop was at Pecking Order at 4416 N Clark St, owned by Kristine Subido ’95, A.A. S. Culinary Arts. This restaurant is larger than it appears and you’ll feel like you’re right at home when you walk in. This location is perfect for family style eating and a casual date night. Chef Subido treated us to some outstanding dishes. Fried chicken, garlic fried rice, coconut adobo rice arancini, sweet plantains, spicy cabbage slaw and Mom’s pickles. Every dish is a new burst of flavor in your mouth. Menu was inspired from her Grandmother’s recipes “but with a new identity,” said Subido. You can’t go wrong at Pecking Order. It was a perfect ending to a delicious day.




From the Kitchens at Kendall College: Baked Onions with Chipotle Butter

Meredith, March 4th, 2014 | Category: Featured, Inside Kendall | Permalink | Email this
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Baked Onions with Chipotle Butter Baked Onions with Chipotle Butter Kendall College Culinary

Yield: 6 servings

Rarely starring as the main ingredient in a side dish, onions in this recipe are stuffed with breadcrumbs and baked with a flavorful chipotle butter. This dish can be prepared ahead and finished in under 20 minutes. It’s a nice, unusual complement to your holiday meal. 


1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
1 chipotle chile, finely chopped
1 t. salt
6 medium-size onions
1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the butter, chipotle and 1 t. salt.
  3. Trim the root end of the onions to create a flat surface. (Don’t over-trim or your onions will fall apart.) Cut ¼” off the top of each onion. Peel away the outer skin.
  4. Using a melon baller, scoop out the center of each onion 1” to 1½” deep. Season the onions inside and out with salt and pepper.
  5. Divide the butter mixture evenly among the 6 onions and fill each cavity.
  6. Place the onions in an 11” x 7” casserole dish. Wrap the dish with aluminum foil. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 1½ hours.
  7. Remove from the oven and unwrap. Reset the oven to 425°F.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the panko crumbs and just enough of the butter from the bottom of the casserole dish to moisten the crumbs. Fill the onion cavities with the crumb mixture.
  9. Place the uncovered dish back into the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until the crumbs have browned.

Recipe developed by Christopher Koetke, CEC, CCE, HAAC, vice president, Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts and the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts.

Get to know the new faculty: Chef Brendan McDermott

Meredith, February 26th, 2014 | Category: Faculty | Permalink | Email this
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Making the transition from Gotham to Second City, our wonderful new culinary arts faculty member, Chef Brendan McDermott, is quickly making himself feel right at home here on campus. We caught up with him in the kitchens to get to know him a little better!

Brendan McD

KC: Tell us a little about your professional background?

BM: Although I was in the kitchens during high school, it wasn’t until 2000 and graduating from Peter Kump (now Institute of Culinary Education) that I really embedded myself into professional kitchens around New York City. I spent the following years working at restaurants such as Mesa Grill, Patria, Olives, RM, Alta and Porchetta. During this time, I also freelanced at the French and Canadian Consulates, Food Network, as well as teaching occasionally. Teaching quickly became my focus and developed an Award Winning Knife Skills class, which has been written up in numerous papers (Wall Street Journal, Epoch Times .Time Out New York). I was featured on an episode of Working Class Foodies (a web show that I became a “co-host”) and recently did a knife skills course on Craftsy. In 2009, I started working at The Institute of Culinary Education as the main knife skills instructor and also developed other classes that focused on different cuisines and techniques that I had picked up over the years in New York restaurants.

KC: What brought you to Kendall College?

BM: Kendall is a well-known institution in the culinary world that truly has a strong focus on the growth of their students. I love that Kendall is in the heart of a city with a wonderful eclectic food culture, making it an obvious choice. I was very honored to be chosen to become part of the faculty.

KC: What inspired you to get into the culinary industry?

BM: As a child, I spent much of my time at my grandparent’s house. Both of them were from different parts of Europe and cooked almost every meal. Growing up in New York City, I always had access to many different cuisines, which inspired me to learn many diverse cuisines and styles of cooking.

KC: Tell us why you enjoy being a part of helping develop the next generation of top chefs?

BM: Whether in a restaurant or in a school, being around people who want to be around food is an amazing feeling. Watching cooks develop their styles and add their creative input to a dish is a creative process that we as chef/chef instructors can learn from as well.