Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College Earns 2020 Entrepreneurship Award

ANNAPOLIS, Md. Michael Carmel, department head of the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College, received the 2020 Entrepreneurship Award from Kendall College National Louis University and the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education’s (CAFÉ).

The award is open to culinary instructors nationwide and recognizes ideas and initiatives that positively impact the college and community or for thoughtful innovation of college operations.

“I always look to tomorrow to see what can be accomplished to make our school and its programs more innovative. If one thing does not work, you try to approach it from another angle. Each idea builds upon another, like the concept of scaffolding in learning,” said the Trident Technical Community College department head.

Carmel’s innovative enrollment generating ideas center around utilizing campus space during traditional off-hours, creating a pipeline of students beginning as early as second grade, and changing the current class schedule and timing to better fit the needs of his community college student population.

Carmel moved away from a traditional longer 14-week semester to two seven-week sessions that have classes meeting twice per week. Additionally, he began offering courses in a certificate schedule, with four courses constituting one certificate and several certificates constituting a degree.

“So many great chefs either never go to school or drop out because of other opportunities they chose to pursue. We marketed this program throughout the Charleston community and have gained traction,” Carmel said.

With the idea of filling empty classroom kitchens when not in use, Carmel turned toward creating programs that engaged the community. He devised summer programs for children, kids baking and cooking camps, with professional chef educators as instructors. The camps were held when the culinary students were on break and not using the kitchen space.

“As a result of offering Kids Camps, we were able to utilize both culinary campuses, increase summer revenue when the college has very low enrollment, offer full-time faculty a full-time load throughout the year, and increase our exposure to the community,” Carmel commented.

“One of our strongest programs at Culinary Institute of Charleston is our symbiotic relationship with the continuing education department,” he said. “I developed the idea if we can begin a small continuing education, non-credit, certificate program that took in all types of students with very little start-up effort – without prerequisites like a high school diploma or GED, admissions application, FAFSA, math, reading and writing – we might be able to build a pathway program into our for-credit programs.”

The program showed great success in its first year with 18 new students beginning the semester. In its second year, the program increased culinary enrollment by approximately 25 to 30 new students.

Carmel is quick to express the initiatives the Culinary Institute of Charleston accomplished, for which the program earned the 2020 Innovation Award, were not easily attained. “This did not happen overnight, but has gained momentum by defining a clear purpose, creative ideas, and dedication to the education process,” he said. “The team of people I have been able to work with has allowed me to be innovative in my approach in figuring things out, and to build upon those things that have made a difference in our future.”

The 2020 Entrepreneurship Award provides a $1,000 cash prize and commemorative plaque. Additionally, the Culinary Institute of Charleston received a complimentary registration for a representative to attend CAFÉ’s 2021 Leadership Conference in Portland, Maine, held next June.

About Kendall College
Kendall College, founded in 1934 and located in Chicago, offers undergraduate degrees in culinary arts and hospitality management that combine strong academics with practical experience and international opportunities. Kendall College was ranked the No. 1 program in Chicago for preparing students for careers in hospitality management and culinary arts in a survey of hiring managers at Chicago’s leading hotels and Michelin Guide restaurants (KTNS Global – 2017 Survey). Kendall College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and it’s associate programs through the American Culinary Federation since 1988. For more information about Kendall visit

About National Louis

National Louis is a nonprofit, non-denominational University offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the fields of education, management, human services, counseling, public policy, culinary, hospitality and others concerned with career and professional development. 

National Louis’ roots date back to 1886 when it first began providing educational access to adult, immigrant and minority populations. The mission to provide innovative and superior and supportive educational experience for students of all ages and backgrounds continues today through progressive and professionally focused programs. In 2018, NLU closed on the transfer agreement of Kendall College’s baking & pastry, business, culinary arts, early childhood education, and hospitality management, as well as general education programs and other assets. For more information 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