Technical College of the Lowcountry hosted its groundbreaking ceremony for the Culinary Institute of the South on Tuesday, October 15 onsite at Buckwalter Place in Bluffton. Crowds of supporters from state and local legislators to future students gathered under a large white tent to celebrate the occasion.
“This is the community’s culinary school, an initiative that began almost four years ago,” TCL President Dr. Richard Gough said. “We are here today, in large part, due to the vision, leadership, and support of the Beaufort County Council, Beaufort County School District and the Town of Bluffton.”
“What a tremendous day for the hospitality industry in our area,” Dean Chef Miles Huff said. “The Culinary Institute of the South will serve as a professional training site for students of all ages and backgrounds, as a community center for continuing education classes, and as a historical cultural center that truly celebrates our unique Southern heritage and cuisine.”
Leaders from the Lowcountry’s culinary and hospitality industry also attended.
“Our industry partners’ advocacy and support have been integral to this project since day one,” Vice President for Institutional Development Mary Lee Carns said. “The industry and the community at large will soon benefit from the new pipeline of well-trained professionals who graduate from the Culinary Institute of the South.”
The Sea Pines Resort, SERG Group, Montage Palmetto Bluff, Salt Marsh Brewery, Southern Barrel, Hilton Head Brewing, Bee-Town Mead and Hilton Head Wine & Food provided food and beverage samplings. Local cookbook authors Sallie Ann Robinson and Pat Branning were also there to show their support.
In addition, the college announced several major gifts to establish:
- The US Foods Innovation Kitchen at the Culinary Institute of the South at the Technical College of the Lowcountry;
- The Liz and Todd Clist Bakery and Pastry Café at the Culinary Institute of the South at the Technical College of the Lowcountry; and
- The Hilton Head Wine & Food Dr. Bob Hohman Student Study Lounge at the Culinary Institute of the South at the Technical College of the Lowcountry.
The Culinary Institute of the South is set to open in late 2020 in Bluffton’s Buckwalter place thanks to $11.5 million in local funding from Beaufort County, Beaufort County School District and the Town of Bluffton.
The 28,000 square-foot best-in-class culinary training facility will accommodate more than 300 students and features six academic classrooms; two teaching kitchens; a baking lab; a lecture theater; and a teaching restaurant.
Associate degrees and certificates in a variety of in-demand culinary disciplines and specializations will be offered. The Interpretive Center, an interactive museum, will preserve and bring to life the true story of Southern food. Students can begin culinary and hospitality classes now and then enter advanced courses when the Institute opens.
For more information, visit www.tcl.edu/culinary.
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