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Miami Dade College’s Miami Culinary Institute to be Honored by The Beacon Council


Miami, March 19, 2012 - Miami Dade College’s (MDC) trailblazing Miami Culinary Institute (MCI) has been named the winner of the Education Award from The Beacon Council of Miami-Dade, and will be honored at the 10th Annual Beacon Awards and Lifestyle Auction on April 25.

The Beacon awards are given to Miami-Dade County innovators who have led the way in creating new jobs and investments, as well as providing the leadership to grow their industries.

Building upon Miami Dade College’s rich history, Miami Culinary Institute, under the leadership of Chef John Richards, director of the College’sInternational Hospitality Center (IHC), blends technology, sustainability and world-class education to set the pulse of Miami’s cuisine and food culture innovation. The Institute offers a curriculum steeped in green-sustainable food and energy technologies, the highest quality food and beverage enthusiast programming and customized professional development for corporate and educational partners worldwide.

The eight-story Institute at the College’s Wolfson Campus is an architectural and engineering marvel that focuses on exceptional space utilization and generating a limited carbon footprint. It is currently tracking Gold LEED Certification. The MCI philosophy is a seed-to-soil practice and is the foundation from which the students originate their professional practices to ultimately deliver eco-culinary abilities that are good for the planet and the people on it.

The building features general kitchen and baking labs, a food and beverage theater with global connectivity capabilities through the latest A/V technology, a first-floor café and bakery, and, on the top floor, the Institute’s exceptional gem: the restaurant Tuyo, an exquisite fusion of New World cuisine under the direction of award-winning Chef Norman Van Aken.

While the IHC currently provides job training and fairs for inner-city residents, it is broadening its outreach by developing programs in areas such as entrepreneurship, food safety certification, culinary preparation skills, financial literacy, soft skills, customer service and job readiness training. These programs are preparing individuals from the inner city with the necessary skills to pursue and ultimately job placement for positions in the local culinary and hospitality industry.

Future plans for MCI include the June kick-off of a new campaign, “Shop, Dine & Explore,” which has been designed to attract not only new businesses and provide employment opportunities,  but also to increase the numbers of patrons visiting the community. Transportation will be provided by a newly implemented trolley system from cruise ships and hotels to shopping and dining destinations and will provide opportunities to learn about the valuable part Overtown has played throughout the City of Miami’s history. A plan is also underway to implement a culinary and hospitality-training facility that will not only train individuals in the culinary and hospitality arts, but also allow them to apply their new skills at a banquet hall, located at the same facility.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, 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.