Program: Culinary Arts
Food has been a part of David Kramer's life since he was 12 and working in a family grocery business.
From there his interest turned into a passion, which he now shares with his students in the Culinary and Hospitality Management program.
"It's a combination of passion for food and the want to serve," he explained. "The variety of responsibilities and possible positions throughout the industry are endless. Being exposed to many cultures through food is a great learning experience."
And throughout his career, Kramer has relished the experience. He himself is a graduate of COD's Foodservice Administration program, as well as of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and of Northwood University. He has worked his way up from a dishwasher/prep cook to executive chef. Lovers of the Chicago dining scene will recognize the many restaurants where Kramer has worked, including Lawry's The Prime Rib, The 95th, Hyatt Hotels, the Art Institute of Chicago and Marriott Hotels.
"Much of my career was spent working with Richard Melman at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. Papagus Greek Taverna and Maggiano's Little Italy are the two restaurants where I spent most of my time with the company," Kramer said.
During his years as a chef, he often trained new employees to be successful in their new positions.
"The transition to teaching was somewhat seamless," he explained. "I taught part-time for four years and enjoyed the challenge and variety it offered. I feel it is a good way to give back what I've been fortunate to enjoy. I hope my students take away a basic foundation of what to expect when they begin working in the hospitality industry, no matter at what capacity. I hope they take away a few life skills as well. It's not all about the food and service; it's about the people who prepare and serve that experience.
"The endless learning of new cuisines, new techniques and networking within our industry makes for an exciting career. I also enjoy giving back to the community my time and resources to make it better for the less fortunate."