Leadership

Christopher Koetke, MBA, CEC, CCE
Vice President, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts 
Vice President, Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts
 

As vice president of both the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts, Christopher Koetke is responsible for strategic leadership of culinary arts programs  at Kendall and throughout the Laureate network.

Christopher Koetke was named vice president of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts in 2012. He joined the School of Culinary Arts in 1998, serving first as a culinary instructor and later as associate dean, dean and executive director. Under his leadership, the School of Culinary Arts was awarded the Academy of the Culinary Arts Cordon d’ Or – Gold Ribbon Cooking School of the Year Culinary Academy Award for 2008. Also that year, the culinary arts program was named “exemplary culinary program” by the American Culinary Federation. In 2009, the school was named the official educational partner of the National Restaurant Association Conserve Environmental Initiative. Kendall is the only culinary school in the U.S. to receive Certified Green Restaurant status from the Green Restaurant Association for both the Dining Room and Cafeteria.

Koetke began cooking professionally in 1982, and has worked in some of the world’s finest kitchens, including French restaurants Pavilion Elysees, Pierre Gagnaire, Taillevent, and Pierre Orsi. He is a certified executive chef and certified culinary educator by the American Culinary Federation. In 2009, he was named the Cooking Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is the host of the Emmy-nominated cooking show “Let’s Dish” on the Live Well HD network and co-author of the award-winning The Culinary Professional (Goodheart-Willcox Publishers, 2010), a comprehensive introductory high-school culinary-arts textbook. In 2010, the Foodservice Educators Network International (FENI) honored him with its inaugural Award for Excellence in Culinary Education and he received the Pathfinder Award from Chefs Collaborative for his work in sustainability.

Koetke earned a B.A. from Valparaiso University and an M.B.A. from Dominican University. He is a member of the board of the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the International Food Editorial Council, and the National Restaurant Association. He is also a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, National Restaurant Association, International Food Editorial Council, and Chaine des Rotisseurs.

Chris.Koetke@kendall.edu

Renee Zonka, C.E.C., R.D., C.H.E., MBA
Dean, The School of Culinary Arts

Renee Zonka began her culinary career as a young girl using her mother’s light bulbs to cook grilled salami sandwiches.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition from Loyola University. She then practiced clinical dietetics at a local hospital. In practice as a dietitian, she would host cooking classes for patients and their families. She then took a leap and became the Executive Chef of the hospital foodservice and opened a 90 seat public restaurant in the hospital lobby.

To gain experience in restaurant operations, she joined Marriott Management Services, where she ran multiple foodservice operations for the next eleven years. During her employment at Marriott, Zonka began honing her teaching skills by providing various classes to Marriott employees on sanitation, nutrition and basic culinary skills.

She received her M.B.A. from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. In addition to her current position at Kendall College, she has been an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America and the Illinois Institute of Art/Chicago.

Zonka has assumed leadership positions in culinary and dietetics organizations, has been selected as Registered Young Dietitian of the Year, and has been recognized as Chef Educator of the Year. She is also a regular consultant and speaker, and in-demand writer on topics where culinary and nutrition intersect. 

Renee.Zonka@kendall.edu

Andy Power
Director of Operations, The School of Culinary Arts

Andy Power began his culinary career at a very young age by working at a small bistro in Park Ridge, Illinois. This experience, along with being a lifelong fan of Julia Child, led him to enroll in Kendall College where he earned degrees in both Culinary Arts and Hotel & Restaurant Management. In 2009, he returned to Kendall College as an adjunct faculty member after spending over 10 years in the foodservice industry in a variety of roles at Renaissance Hotels, Houston’s Restaurants and Cereality Restaurants. Currently, Andy is able to apply his educational and “real world” experiences as the Operations Director for the School of Culinary Arts. He enjoys every aspect of the foodservice industry but truly values sharing his knowledge and experiences with the student body of his alma mater. He currently lives in Indiana with his family and is pursuing his master’s degree in business administration.

Andy.Power@kendall.edu