Meet the Dean

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

Renee Zonka was promoted to dean of the School of Culinary Arts in 2011. She joined the program in 2007 as associate dean and was also named managing director in 2010. She was responsible for launching a nutrition concentration in the School of Culinary Arts’ bachelor’s program in 2009. Prior to joining Kendall College, she was a lecturing instructor at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and a chef instructor at the Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago.

She began her career practicing clinical dietetics at Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., where she also hosted cooking classes for patients and their families. Zonka made a career leap to executive chef of the hospital, and then opened a 90-seat public restaurant in the hospital’s lobby.

To gain experience in restaurant operations, Zonka joined Marriott Management Services, where she ran multiple foodservice operations for 11 years. While there, she provided classes on sanitation, nutrition and basic culinary skills to Marriott employees.

Zonka was named Registered Young Dietitian of the Year by the American Dietetic Association and Educator of the Year by the ACF Windy City Professional Culinarians. She is a Certified Hospitality Educator through the American Hotel & Lodging Association and a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation.

An acknowledged authority on nutrition issues, particularly childhood obesity and special diets, she is a regular consultant and speaker and in demand as an author on topics that promote the critical relationship between culinary and nutrition.

Zonka holds a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from Loyola University in Chicago, and an M.B.A. from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, also in the Chicago area.

Meet the Dean

Read the latest versions of “From the Desk of the Dean” by Renee Zonka, RD, CEC, CHE, MBA.

June 2012     Building a “Better for You” Barbecue

Kendall College has developed a few recipes that capitalize on healthier preparations and ingredients while sacrificing nothing in terms of flavor.

December 2011     Celebrating the Holidays Safely with Food Allergies or Intolerances

Kendall College has developed a few special recipes that provide tasty alternatives that address common allergies. View these recipes…

October 2011         U.S. Dietary Guidelines Make Big Changes - Food Pyramid is Out – The Plate is In!