Christopher Koetke is vice president of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in Chicago, and vice president of Baltimore-based Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts. Since 2011, he has led the strategic direction of Laureate’s culinary-arts programs worldwide while maintaining a strong presence at Kendall College.
In addition to hosting the Midwest Emmy-nominated cooking show, “Let’s Dish,” on the Live Well HD network, Koetke is a regular editorial contributor to Flavor & The Menu magazine and the Chicago Tribune. He is also co-author of the award-winning The Culinary Professional (Goodheart-Willcox, 2010), a comprehensive and widely used introductory culinary-arts textbook for high-school students.
Prior to joining the Kendall College faculty in 1998, Koetke, who has cooked professionally since 1982 in some of the finest kitchens and pastry shops in France, Switzerland and the United States, was executive chef of Chicago’s critically acclaimed Les Nomades. In 1990, he was selected to compete and placed third overall in the U.S. finals of the biennial Bocuse d’Or, known globally as the Concours Mondial de la Cuisine, or World Cooking Contest.
Once at Kendall College, Koetke served for several years as a culinary instructor and later as associate dean of the School of Culinary Arts, until he was named dean of the school in 2005. In his first year as dean, Koetke developed and launched the school’s ecological-sustainability initiative, resulting in a program that today is woven throughout the curricula of Kendall College’s four schools and operational practices campus-wide. For his accomplishments, Kendall earned the Green Award from Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI)—the first ever presented to a culinary-training program. In 2008, under Koetke’s leadership, Kendall College expanded its sustainability initiative to provide education on this critical issue to the greater U.S. hospitality industry. The nonprofit Chefs Collaborative honored Koetke’s achievements with its inaugural Pathfinder Award in 2010 for his work in mainstreaming sustainability awareness and action in the U.S. hospitality and higher education industries.
Under Koetke’s leadership, Kendall’s School of Culinary Arts was named Cooking School of the Year in 2008 by the Academy of the Culinary Arts Cordon d’ Or – Gold Ribbon. Also that year, the school’s culinary-arts program was named an “exemplary culinary program” by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).