Food science lab and kitchen opens for the Dietetic Technician Program . . . and the students rejoice

West Allis Campus students enjoy new restaurant quality space


Photo by Rebekah Blank

College luminaries were on hand at West Campus to help celebrate the completion of the new kitchen lab. (L to R) Dr. Mohammad Dawkar, Jody Montgomery, Dr. Kelly J. Dries, Hanna Henrich, Sandy Mcilnay, Heidi Katte, Hataya Johnson, LaDonna Gladney, Hanife Thomas, Joe Moeller, Dr. Vicki J. Martin

The West Allis campus un-veiled its newly remodeled, state-of-the-art kitchen for the Dietetic Technician Program. The college invested $650,000 into the new
lab, which features four student stations and a teaching station equipped with cameras. The student stations are fully equipped with double ovens, ample counter space, compost collections, and all of the necessary cooking equipment. Each station can accommodate two students. There is also an ADA station for students who need accommodations. This new space will give students the ability to research recipes and test food products.

“The new lab will benefit students in food science and in management experiences,” said student Joe Moeller. “I’m excited and proud to see what the faculty
has done with the program.”

Opposite the lab is the classroom area that includes mounted TV’s to display cooking demonstrations as well as lecture presentations. The accelerated program equips students with the skills necessary to manage and oversee kitchens, work as clinical Dietetic Technicians, work in a school system, and be active in the community as health educators. The program is able to meet the increasing demand for qualified nutrition professionals with this two year, accredited degree.
The project was proposed five years ago and received approval from the school board.

“This program and its expansion couldn’t have come at a better time for the students and community,” said MATC President, Dr. Vicki Martin. “The need for health education within the community has become the life-blood of the program.”

The new facility provides the opportunity for students to learn to manipulate recipes, prepare to work in the food service industry, garner the skills necessary for preparing meals, and it also offers opportunities for networking within the community. The Dietetic Technician Program had the privilege to host the annual
meeting for the Association for Healthcare Foodservice Professionals. The event included four nationally renowned chefs who were paired with students for a “Chopped” style cooking contest. Chefs were given one hour to prepare five new and exciting dishes featuring vegetarian and seasonal options.

Jody Montgomery, a member of the MATC Dietetic Technician Advisory Board and Supervisor of Nutrition Services at Aurora/Advocate West Allis, expressed her delight in working with students in the program. “Their ability to learn from industry leaders and transition and advance into their careers is phenomenal,“ she said. Program Coordinator Heidi Katte shared those sentiments, “We are very grateful to have this beautiful space where we can create all of this for our students and ensure that they are prepared when they get out to the workforce.”

Students interested in learning more about this program should contact program coordinator, Heidi Katte at [email protected] or at 414-456-5364.