College Culinary Arts Programs Recognized for Excellence in Sustainability Education

ANNAPOLIS, Md. The Culinary Institute of Michigan (CIM) at Baker College earned the 2020 Green Award sponsored by the United Soybean Board and Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ). The Culinary Management Program at Valencia College’s Poinciana campus earned an honorable mention. The awards recognize the institutions’ efforts to teach culinary students creative sustainability practices.

CIM was recognized for their sustainability philosophy centering around teaching culinary students the principle of eating nutrient-dense whole foods from local farms and becoming healthy, food-literate adults who understand and practice sustainability. Jamie LeRoux-Sowa, CIM’s program director, said the Institute’s practices incorporate three main areas: conservation, waste diversion/management, and responsible purchasing with the goal of instilling in students that sustainability is a life-time practice. LeRoux-Sowa received a $1,000 cash prize and commemorative plaque.

Dr. Jennifer Denlinger, Valencia College culinary management department chair, explained that her school’s goal is to teach students how to contribute to a better, more productive society through the foodservice industry. The program encourages instructors and students to create innovative uses for food waste. “Students are actively encouraged to try new ideas, especially when it comes to using up products in case there is an opportunity to create something unexpected with the food waste,” Dr. Denlinger commented. Valencia College received a commemorative plaque.

Both programs also earned a complimentary registration for a representative to attend CAFÉ’s 2021 Leadership Conference held in Portland, Maine, next June.

About the United Soybean Board

The United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers and manage their checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is focused on U.S. soybean meal, oil quality, and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers, while addressing and meeting the needs of end users, including foodservice. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit

About the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ)

Founded in 2002, CAFÉ links the foodservice classroom to the foodservice industry to provide needed resources to educators for their efforts to successfully train students for vibrant, fulfilling careers in the ever-evolving hospitality industry. Through its web portal, online magazine The Gold Medal Classroom, annual Leadership Conference, Deans and Directors Retreat and regional skills workshops nationwide, CAFÉ is dedicated to addressing the unique needs of highly specialized professionals who wear two hats as culinarians and educators. For more info, visit


Jamie LeRoux-Sowa, Culinary Institute of Michigan at Baker College program director, received the 2020 Green Award, sponsored by the United Soybean Board and CAFÉ.

Dr. Jennifer Denlinger, department chair for Valencia College’s Culinary Management Program, earned an honorable mention for the 2020 Green Award, sponsored by the United Soybean Board and CAFÉ.