September 9, 2013

Culinary courses under way at Ivy Tech Peru

Courses under way at Ivy Tech's Peru site.

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — PERU — Cooks are in the kitchen at Ivy Tech’s Peru instructional site this fall. Culinary courses began Aug. 19 and students are taking advantage of the opportunity, said Theresa Murphy, executive director of the Peru site.

Beginning this fall, students got a shot at a 16-credit hour academic certificate in hospitality administration. Credit courses offered will include sanitation and first aid, basic food theory, nutrition, introduction to baking and a variety of others.

Culinary instructor Liz Kirk is teaching the sanitation and first aid class as well as basic food theory, where students are in a lab.

The two classes go toward the culinary certificate. Kirk’s bachelor’s degree is in baking and pastry arts, and she is working toward a master’s degree in family and consumer science education.

Kirk said she always wanted to teach culinary arts.

“It has been really fun,” Kirk said of teaching the Ivy Tech classes. “Everyone needs to eat and the courses give students skills they need. The certificate will definitely give them an edge.”

A nearly $75,000 donation from Vohne Liche Kennels in Miami County made the culinary courses possible at the Peru site.

Murphy said the classes are going well and are well attended. Out of the three culinary credit courses being offered, one class is at full capacity and another is almost full.

“I think we’re doing well,” Murphy said. “We had a starting point with the donation and that allowed us to gain interest, and there is interest. We can tell that from our enrollment.”

Currently, the certificate can be obtained in a year. In the future, Murphy said, it might be offered in a semester in the future.

Obtaining the certificate will give students a head start on a degree program, Murphy said. The hospitality administration certificate transfers to several Ivy Tech regions that offer associate degrees in hospitality administration.

In addition to credit courses, non-credit classes are being offered, including a technique series where participants can learn about food preservation, knife techniques, savvy shopping and dessert skills. Those courses cost $95 for each class, two for $160, or four for $280 and are open to everyone.

Kirk said though her favorite part is baking and pastry, she is excited to be teaching the basic skills needed to be successful.

“Basic skills are necessary,” Kirk said. “Once you have those, you can go on and be creative, but you have to know the basics first.”

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or