Kenneth Bourgoin–a taste of greatness

This year, the Hunton Brady Architects Endowed Chair in Hospitality Management allowed a select few of the Culinary Art StIMG_6588udent Association club to attend the National Restaurant Association meeting in Chicago.

The show hosts purveyors from all over the world. There are about 65,000 attendees to the show and it takes about 2-3 days to see all of it. “It is like a food and beverage theme park,” says Bourgoin.

Sometimes, the trip alone is the farthest a student has ever travelled, and that can be challenging in and of itself. At the show they are networking, sharing education programs, involved in chef demos and learning about how the number one private employer hospitality industry works.

The students have to earn points doing volunteer houIMG_6595rs within and outside Valencia College to get the privilege to go to the show. They are exposed to not only the show but the food of Chicago. The faculty and students meet after the show and go to places like Frontera Grill – Rick Bayless’s famous restaurant serving Mexican Cuisine, The Berghoff– a German Restaurant, and The “Girl and the Goat.”  The Chef there is a James Beard award winner.

One student’s reaction: “Getting the opportunity to meet and network with some of the biggest names in the food industry like Thomas Keller [chef at The French Laundry], Anne Burrell and Mauricio Londono, who is the Vice President of the World Association of Chefs,” was a predictably “wow” moment, one that the student is sure will benefit him in years to come

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Craig Rapp, professor of hospitality and tourism management

Another in our series of blog posts on endowed chairs

craig-rapp11 Final CropCraig Rapp, professor of hospitality and tourism management, loves to hang out with students. So much so, that his Central Florida Restaurant Association Chair in Restaurant and Food Service Management grant this year is going to taking them to the 2016 National Restaurant Show in Chicago.

The show, held in May, will give students a taste of the “real world” of restaurant management, in preparation for their future careers. He says, “[the NRA] annual international trade show … is one of the largest and most impactful hospitality shows in the world; one that anyone entering the hospitality field can benefit from.” He continues, “for many, this will be the first time students are able to connect classroom learning to the industry.”

In addition to the students’ learning, traveling to Chicago will allow Professor Rapp to learn about the latest industry trends and technology, and meet and network with some of the world’s most influential hospitality industry leaders in the world. This, in addition to break-out sessions and workshops that will help him to plan curriculum and enhance the classroom experience once he returns to Valencia. He’ll be able to witness culinary competitions amongst some of the top chefs in the world, tour some of the finest hotels, and experience some of the best restaurants that Chicago has to offer.

In addition, he plans to have the students traveling with him report on their involvement (two, 250-word essays on Maitland 2015 3the break-out sessions they attend). The experience will also help students begin to practice their own professional development by learning about the latest industry trends and technology, and meet and network with some of the world’s most influential hospitality industry leaders in the world.

 “The trip to the Chicago restaurant Show is a great benefit to students of hospitality here at Valencia College and it opens many doors,” he says.

Professor Rapp has been with Valencia College since 2008, teaching classes such as Introduction to Hospitality Management, Supervisory Development, Hospitality Management and Food & Beverage Cost Control. Born in Edison, New Jersey, he moved to Florida in 1996 to attend Florida International University’s School of Hospitality Management. It was there that he completed his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and a master of science in hotel and food service management.

He is married to Jessica Rapp, and they have three children: Zachary, Lillian, and Madelyn.

He teaches at the West Campus.