Based outside Atlanta in Tucker, Georgia, the Shular Institute is a culinary education institution aiming to prepare aspiring chefs for the modern culinary and hospitality industries.
“I believe if you want to shape the future of this industry, you need to expose students to a lot more than just basic cooking fundamentals,” Chef Daryl Shular, the founder and director of the Shular Institute, tells Food Tank.
Shular is the first African American and minority Certified Master Chef. He is also the founder and head chef at FarmED Kitchen and Bar, a farm-to-table restaurant in Tucker.
Students learn in FarmED’s kitchen about standard business operations, from contracts to leases to business negotiations. Shular says that FarmED offers a “real world environment” where students can learn professional soft skills such as problem-solving and self-control. Students also have the opportunity to work with local growers, learn methods to reduce food waste, and grow herbs in the restaurant’s garden.
Shular tells Food Tank that to succeed in the modern culinary and hospitality industries, chefs must have business skills, understand the science of cooking, and advocate for sustainability.
The Shular Institute offers two courses in Food Science and Technology and Culinary Business and Operational Management. All students complete a six-month externship to gain professional experience.
Traditionally, Shular says aspiring chefs are expected to work nearly 20 years as a line cook. Today, he sees a shift in his students who want to spend more time enacting change and leading their own enterprises.
“Our curriculum centers around entrepreneurship. We want our students to be able to create a blueprint and graduate with a full-fledged business plan.”
Shular also tries to teach his students to be global citizens. Recent research from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) finds that the food system accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. The FAO also estimates that globally, one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted each year. And in the United States, restaurants generate US$2 billion in lost profits as a result of food waste.
According to Shular, sustainability and nutrition are core to his career. Shular is the Co-Founder and Head Chef of Earth First Kitchen, a company that partners with local growers to cater organic meals. In 2004, he was the National Champion at The American Culinary Federation’s Nutritional Hot Food Challenge. Shular tries to bring his experience with sustainable and healthy cooking into the curriculum.
This year, The Shular Institute will partner with Prism Economic Development Corporation to open a culinary arts education and training institute at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center. Shular also looks forward to new partnerships with non-profit organizations and the local governments of Tucker and Atlanta.
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Photo Courtesy of The Shular Institute