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Grant funds culinary arts upgrades

Culinary students enrolled in Lamar University’s Culinary Arts Program have new state-of-the-art equipment.

LU’s Hospitality Administration Program was awarded a grant from the Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation and used the funds to purchase and install three new pieces of commercial kitchen equipment in
McFaddin Ward Grant
Chef Charles Duit, Maryclaire Strassburger
the culinary lab. Funds from the grant were also used to increase safety on the production line. Stainless steel flashing was installed, and the fire suppression system was repositioned.

“First, the grant allowed us to upgrade and integrate new equipment and increase safety measures,” said Chef Charles Duit, Culinary Instructor in LU’s Hospitality Administration Program. “Second, the new equipment and reconfiguration of the cooking line will increase overall production capacity and increase the number of student work stations. And thirdly, the new equipment will allow us to expand the range of dishes to which students are exposed. In a challenging industry, it’s crucial for chefs to continually experiment with new foods and new preparations. We’re lucky to be able to offer this to our young chefs.”

Students earning a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration with an emphasis in culinary arts learn everything they need to know to launch their career as a chef and, ultimately, a successful business owner in the food industry. Coursework focuses on both technical and management skills: baking, beverage management, cost controls and accounting, dining room service, food preparation, human relations management, menu planning, nutrition, purchasing, event planning and sanitation. Students also perform community service, providing industry exposure through interactive, hands-on projects and event participation.

“I chose this program because I would like to open my own restaurant here in our Beaumont community,” said Maryclaire Strassburger, a junior culinary arts student for Beaumont. “Not only does the program offer hands-on experience in the kitchen, but also teaches business skills. The amazing new equipment that was donated to us will help us tremendously during class time, allowing us to all cook at the same time and learn more effectively.”

Mamie Louise McFaddin Ward, a member of a pioneer Texas family, established the Mamie McFaddin Ward Foundation in 1977 with the primary purpose of restoring and supporting the Mamie McFaddin-Ward House Historic  Museum.  Additionally, the Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation makes discretionary grants to local charities annually. Prior to her death in 1982, McFaddin Ward was known for giving generously to many organizations, particularly health services and education. Her contributions to Lamar University were recognized when the Board of Regents named a building – the Mamie McFaddin Ward Health Sciences Building – in her honor.