One pastry/bake lab contains a dedicated chocolate lab with its own room-conditioning system so the space can maintain a cool temperature. Easily accommodating 10 students, the room has two-inch solid granite work surfaces throughout. "Two inches are needed to hold proper surface temp," Whitney says. The room contains storage for chocolate molds, chocolate tempering, and induction cookers. The room also has a specific area for air brushing.

Like the other labs, these have a centrally located instructor station and a full multimedia setup for instruction.

"I speak for all the instructors and staff here when I say I am humbled and honored to have this building and space," Meyers says. "I look forward to many years of use and creating a positive learning environment." As students learn culinary arts at this new facility, they'll experiment with various pieces of equipment, which will undoubtedly influence their purchasing decisions when they leave the school and enter the commercial arena.

Design Capsule

The College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, wanted to provide a world-class learning environment for students and the community. Opened in August 2011, the $26 million Culinary and Hospitality Center is on the northeast side of campus near the McAninch Arts Center. It houses five instructional kitchens: Wheat Café, consisting of a 3,800-square-foot casual-dining kitchen, a 70-seat dining room that is open to the public, and an adjacent 400-square-foot market, all run by culinary students; Waterleaf, a 6,500-square-foot, for-profit fine-dining restaurant kitchen with a bar area, wine cooler and 130-seat dining room that is open to the public; a 3,000-square-foot skills lab, including a connected walk-in refrigerator/freezer; a 2,600-square-foot bake/pastry lab with an attached chocolate lab; and another 2,600-square-foot bakery/pastry lab. The project also includes a tiered amphitheater for culinary instruction, a six-room hotel and multimedia facility. Nearly 600 students are enrolled in two-year programs to earn associate's degrees in culinary arts, hospitality management and restaurant management, as well as certificate programs. With a check average of $15 per person, Wheat Café serves roughly 50 customers at lunch and 50 at dinner. It is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Waterleaf's check average is $25, serving 20 customers at lunch every day. The student-run dinners on Tuesday (international cuisine) cost about $40 per person, serving an average of 60 guests. Wednesday evening's dinner features classic French cuisine and costs $50 per person, averaging 60 people. Dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The center's staff includes six full-time instructors and 30 part-time instructors. Equipment investment: $3 million, plus existing equipment relocated from the old facility.

  • Owner: DuPage County owns College of DuPage
  • President: Dr. Robert Breuder
  • Coordinator of the Culinary and Hospitality Program: Chris Thielman
  • Associate Dean of Business and Technology: Kris Fay
  • Dean of Business and Technology: Donna Stewart
  • Director of Facilities: John Wandolowski
  • Chef Instructor: Timothy Meyers, CCC, CCE
  • Associate Professor of the Hospitality Program: Mary Beth Leone
  • Project Manager for the College of DuPage: Aleisha Jaeger
  • Architect and Interior Designer: Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, Chicago; Craig M. Smith, AIA, principal
  • Foodservice Consultant: E.F. Whitney Inc., Birmingham, Mich.; Ed Whitney, president
  • Equipment Dealer: Great Lakes Hotel Supply Company, Detroit, Mich.; Phillip Little, project manager
  • Construction: W.B. Olsen, Northbrook, Ill.
  • Website: