Park City Culinary Institute’s Successful Model and New SLC Campus

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Hilary Reiter
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January 13, 2016


The Successful Two-Month Model Launches Students into Their Culinary Arts Careers Without the Burden of Exorbitant Student Debt

PARK CITY, UTAH – As a result of the Obama administration’s recent cut of the federal loan program that provided up to 90 percent of trade school funding, mostly through student loans, several notable culinary arts campuses and programs have closed their doors. Students were graduating from these two-year culinary schools with thousands of dollars of debt that could not feasibly be paid off with the $10 per hour kitchen jobs they were getting after graduation. Realizing this model was not sustainable, the Park City Culinary Institute opened in 2013 with an alternative, innovative approach – a two-month, more affordable program that partners students with renowned chefs; students are eligible for the same jobs after two months than those graduating from two-year programs, only without the exorbitant debt.

“Since Obama cracked down on abusive private schools, the largest culinary school in the country – Cordon Bleu – had to close all 16 campuses. Here in Utah, The Art Institute closed its doors along with one-third of the other Art Institutes around the country. Something was gravely wrong with culinary education in this country, when as many as 25 percent of graduates were defaulting on the loans that put them through school,” observed Laurie Moldawer, Director and Founder of Park City Culinary Institute. “It never made sense to me, and seemed unfair, to ask students who would be working moderate-paying jobs to take on enormous amounts of debt. Instead, we set up our school to have a tuition in line with the salaries our graduates would receive. We don’t want our graduates burdened with debt. We developed a program that gets students the same jobs – in just two short months. In fact, we have better placement rates because we are smaller, and give our students access to some of the most respected chefs in the country.”

While other schools are shrinking, Park City Culinary Institute’s innovative model is enabling the school to expand with the opening of a Salt Lake City campus this year. Students benefit from two months of affordable training that can be paid off within six months of work. This is unheard of in the industry.

“Our innovative program includes a faculty of executive chefs from the region’s top restaurants and catering companies who teach our classes. They are business owners themselves, so they give the students a new perspective. We have field trips that give students the opportunity to meet with farmers and artisans, and discover how they can have a say in what farmers grow, and what cheeses can be made for them locally, as they begin their careers,” Moldawer explains. “We are very fortunate to be in Utah, where students form relationships with farmers, ranchers, and artisans who produce the healthy ingredients they’ll be cooking with.”

Traveling from around the county to hone their culinary skills in a world-class mountain resort town with more chefs per capita than Paris, students enjoy access to highly-accomplished and award-winning chef instructors. Beginning the first day of class, Park City Culinary Institute’s students work in small groups to develop knife skills and learn various cooking methods and techniques. They no longer need recipes; they understand the science behind the recipes.

Culinary Director and Chef Instructor Houman Gohary, who is fast becoming a regular personality on the Food Network, opened Park City’s Good Karma restaurant after opening more than a dozen restaurants for Ritz Carlton around the world – including several that now have three Michelin stars. Additional, dynamic faculty members include Rebecca Millican, Executive Pastry Chef at la Caille, who for many years trained New York’s top chefs in pastry, and Adam Kreisel, whose career started in some of San Francisco’s finest kitchens, served as executive chef at Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort, and now owns Chaia Cucina, a high-end catering and consulting company. More information on Park City Culinary Institute’s renowned faculty can be found at

Applications are currently being accepted for upcoming programs in Salt Lake City, February 8 – March 31, 2016 and Park City/Deer Valley: April 11 – June 3, 2016. For details, visit

Park City Culinary Institute collaborates with the region’s top chefs to offer a distinctive culinary program that rivals some of the best culinary schools in the country. In addition to the school’s two-month immersive hands-on program, the Institute hosts teambuilding events and demonstrations for private and corporate groups. Park City Culinary Institute is “On to something fantastic!” according to Food Writer Wilbert Jones, and the innovative approach to culinary education is “Definitely overdue” according to restaurant owner Jesse Shetler. Students are trained to succeed in small classes with personalized attention, where they master essential techniques and gain experience with diverse ingredients. For more information, visit


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