Culinary student preparing food. Culinary students working together in the kitchen.

Hospitality & Food Management

Hospitality and tourism is among the fastest growing industries in Michigan and Muskegon county. From culinary arts to business management, entrepreneurship to amusement park operation, and baking to event planning students gain the skills to be a success in the industry. Students prepare tasty dishes, participate in food tastings, operate our student-run bistro, and visit some of Muskegon’s biggest attractions. Students extend their learning beyond the classroom/lab across Muskegon county and Michigan as they partner with community organizations to create recipes, prepare, and serve local foods. To date, our students have offered more than 41,000 tastings across Muskegon county  and have received recognition at the state and federal level for their work in recipe development.

Interested high school juniors and seniors can be a part of the exciting local foods movement, earn high school and college credits, explore careers in hospitality, and earn national ServSafe® certification as they prepare for a successful future.

For more information on this program download a Hospitality & Food Management brochure.

  • National Restaurant Association (NRA) ServSafe® Food Handler
  • NRA ServSafe® Manager
  • NRA ServSafe® Allergen
  • NRA ProStart Level 1
  • NRA ProStart Level 2
  • American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Culinarian
  • School Nutrition Association (SNA) Level 1

Academic Credit

Students who successfully complete this course may be eligible for the following academic credit (See your high school counselor for more information.): English, Math, Visual Performing & Applied Arts.

Articulated College Credit

Students who successfully complete this course may receive articulated college credit to the following schools: Baker College, Davenport University, Ferris State University, and Grand Rapids Community College. For information on how to earn articulated credit contact Mrs. Pulsipher at the CTC

Direct College Credit

Students who successfully complete select CTC courses may receive direct college credit to specific colleges and universities. Direct credit is currently unavailable for this program. A list of classes that offer direct credit may be found here.

Meet the instructors

The teachers and parapros at the Career Tech Center (CTC) all come from the industry they now teach.

Instructor: Elissa Penczar
Bio: Mrs. Penczar graduated from Pittsfield High School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She then attended the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. She has 16+ years experience working as a professional chef before she entered teaching. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading, travelling, swimming, and keeping up with her six-year-old twins.

Instructor: Rhonda Derks

Bio: Mrs. Derks graduated from Whitehall High School and has her BS in Technical Education from Ferris State University. Before teaching, she spent 15+ years in food and beverage management and ten years as a banquet manager. In her free time she enjoys cooking, gardening, and going to the beach.

Paraprofessional: Bill Friend

Bio: Mr. Friend is a graduate of Gull Lake High School. He went on to attend Kellogg Community College where he studied Police Administration and later attended Western Michigan University where he majored in Sociology and minored in Social Work. After 23 years in corrections he retired. He has owned two restaurants and has been in the food service industry for over 50 years! In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family which includes five children and five grandchildren.


Advisory Committee

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