Christopher Koetke, MBA, CEC, CCE, dean of The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College, last night received the inaugural Award for Excellence in Culinary Education from the Foodservice Educators Network International. The award recognizes Koetke’s accomplishments and leadership in the foodservice-educator community, as well as his impact on the field of culinary education.

“FENI is pleased to bestow this first-ever award to an educator who has contributed significantly to advancing the professional development and technical skills of foodservice educators throughout the United States,” says Daniel von Rabenau, executive director of FENI and publisher of Chef and Chef Educator Today magazines. “As an educator, Chef Koetke’s influence extends beyond the classroom to serve the foodservice industry as a whole. In addition to his unparalleled commitment to helping other educators reach their fullest potential, Chef Koetke is an inspiration to students and has demonstrated true leadership in positioning Kendall College as one of the premiere culinary-arts programs in the nation.”

Koetke has taught at The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College since January 1998. He was named associate dean of the Culinary School in 2002 and dean in 2005.

Certified by the American Culinary Federation as an executive chef and culinary educator, Koetke is a board member of the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission, Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Slow Food Chicago and International Foodservice Editorial Council, and a founding board member of the Greater Midwestern Foodways Association. He is also the host of the Midwest Emmy-nominated cooking show, “Let’s Dish,” on the LivewellHD television network in the U.S.

Koetke is co-author of The Culinary Professional (Goodheart-Willcox Publishers, 2010), a comprehensive introductory high school culinary arts textbook. In 2009, he was named Cooking Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.