Miami Dade College Homepage > MDC in the News

Miami Dade College Sets the Table for Food Culture Innovation

New Miami Culinary Institute to revolutionize the industry
no alt tag information

Members of the "Chef's Council" pose at the official opening of MDC's Miami Culinary Institute on Thursday, April 14, 2011. Back row, from left: Chefs Douglas Rodriguez, Norman Van Aken, Allen Susser, Michael Schwartz, MCI Director John Richards. Front row, L to R: Chefs Cindy Hutson, Michelle Bernstein, Rudi Sodamin, and Phillipe Ruiz.

Miami, April 14, 2011 - Miami Dade College (MDC) has developed a breakthrough recipe for culinary excellence in the 21st century with its Miami Culinary Institute (MCI). The opening today of MCI’s new, state-of-the-art building sets the table for food culture innovation with a slew of programs and activities that will please the palate whether one is a student, food enthusiast or culinary industry professional.   

With a 50-year history of working with industry and setting the bar high for corporate training and development, MDC has created the Institute to ensure the industry has a steady pool of qualified and highly trained employees. The Institute’s School of Culinary Arts will have three main components – a 64-credit Associate in Science in Culinary Arts degree, continuing education for culinary professionals, and a food and beverage enthusiast education program. Courses, programs and even the building are rooted in sustainability and eco-culinary approaches. 

“We are extremely excited about the opening of the Institute and its new building, which is a gem,” said Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J, Padrón “Miami has been waiting for this to go to the next level in the world’s cuisine scene.” 

Academic Program

The Institute will offer students a chance to learn from the world’s top professional chefs as they learn hands-on, sustainable, innovative techniques. The curriculum will realistically prepare students for the needs and expectations of the culinary industry while arming them with the knowledge to evolve the world’s food culture. Offering high-quality and value oriented tuition, MDC is the only higher education institution in the region offering the Associate in Science in Culinary Arts degree and is also the only public option. 

“The curriculum has been formulated for revolutionary thinkers who are passionate about food, people and the planet at a time when fresh thinking can change the world,” said director and chef John Richards. “Our students will be well-versed in the latest trends and techniques, while having a solid foundation of the core principals of the culinary industry.” 

The program is rooted in sustainability and embraces a “seed-to-soil” approach where products entering and leaving are used and discarded keeping the local community and environment in mind.      

Continuing Education

MCI continues the college’s longstanding tradition of being at the vanguard of excellence, workforce training and development, best practices and innovation. Culinary industry professionals will be able to work with MCI to continue their professional training and learn advanced techniques so that they remain at the cutting edge of the industry. 

Enthusiast Programming

MCI also offers the highest quality food and wine programming for individuals who are passionate about the preparation and enjoyment of exceptional cuisine. Some of the world's best and most innovative chefs, sommeliers and beverage producers will provide entertaining and educational demonstrations. Upcoming interactive programs include the Palate Play series with Chef Sarah Izquierdo and master Sommelier Charlie Arturaola, as well as Learning, Doing and Dining with Chef Norman Van Aken.

These dynamic non-credit programs will teach participants the critical skills and techniques master chefs use in their kitchens while delivering fun and entertaining experiences. 

Chef’s Council

The Chef’s Council serves as the eyes, ears and voice of the professional culinary world to ensure that MCI’s curriculum is infused with all the ingredients and expertise to meet and exceed the needs of the food and beverage industry. Chefs on the council will help create the culinary vision of the Institute by weighing in on the latest culinary and food culture trends, connecting the school to local farmers and restaurateurs and offering ever-evolving techniques in culinary innovation. Through them, students will gain progressive, real-world knowledge and realistic expectations as they enter the work force. 

Members of the distinguished council include renowned chefs Michelle Bernstein, Cindy Hutson, Douglas Rodriguez, Philippe Ruiz, Michael Schwartz, Rudi Sodamin, Allen Susser and Norman Van Aken. 

“It’s thrilling to have such an innovative and inspiring new culinary school open in our own community. I can’t wait to see the enthusiastic students that come out of it,” said James Beard award-winning chef and MCI chef council member Michelle Bernstein

State-of-the-Art Green Building

The Institute is housed in a state-of-the-art building for which the college is seeking LEED certification and is currently tracking Gold. It is an architectural and engineering marvel based on small footprint and space utilization. It features general kitchen labs, a baking lab, a food and beverage theatre, a first-floor bakery and café and other amenities to enrich the students’ experience and the community’s involvement. 

But that’s not all. Today’s event is just an appetizer. A feast for the senses awaits at the MCI, and, in the coming weeks, the community will get a taste of some of those things, when the Alphabite food truck makes its debut and a truly innovative dining experience opens in the building with a bird’s eye view to feed the mind and the best cuisine in the region to nurture the body and soul.


For more information on the Miami Culinary Institute, please call 305-237-3276 or visit

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or genetic information.
Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.