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Sullivan University Partners with APPCA to Offer Higher Education's First Diploma for Personal and Private Chefs

As U.S. demand for the services of personal and private chefs grows, so, too, has interest in both career paths. Now, those who wish to pursue either career may receive recognition for formal, intensive training from one of the nation's leading culinary schools in partnership with the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA).

While a smattering of colleges across the country offer a concentration in personal-chef studies as part of a larger associate degree in culinary arts, Sullivan University, based in Louisville, Ky., and home to the renowned National Center for Hospitality Studies, is the first accredited culinary-arts program in the United States to offer a diploma specific to the roles of personal and private chef. Launched in June 2009, Sullivan's Personal/Private Chef Diploma program draws students from across the country to its Louisville and Lexington, Ky., campuses who seek formal culinary and business training to become successful personal and private chefs.

"We are thrilled to see a university of Sullivan's stature recognize and address the tremendous growth that our industry is experiencing today," says Candy Wallace, founder and executive director of APPCA. "As pioneer of the personal-chef career path nearly 20 years ago, it is gratifying for me to see our profession treated as viably and credibly as any other time-honored culinary vocation. Sullivan University's new diploma program for personal and private chefs validates what our organization has promoted for two decades, that those wishing to earn a respectable and rewarding living cooking for others have choices beyond working in a traditional restaurant or foodservice operation."

Students enrolled in Sullivan University's 12-month Personal/Private Chef Diploma program must earn 68 credits from the curriculum that mandates training in basic culinary skills, garde manger, international cuisines, dining services and wines and spirits. Academic courses include culinary mathematics, writing composition, foodservice sanitation, basic nutrition, hospitality management and supervision, and food-and-beverage cost control. The fourth quarter of the program is dedicated to successfully operating a personal-chef business or fulfilling the role of private chef, as well as an introduction to professional catering.

Much of the program's final-quarter instruction comes from The Professional Personal Chef: the Business of Doing Business as a Personal Chef (John Wiley & Sons, 2008), the first definitive textbook for prospective personal chefs, written by Wallace and chef/educator Gregory C. Forte, CEC, CCE, of Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Fla. At the conclusion of the program, graduates will be eligible to receive full membership in APPCA and access to the organization's wealth of business-building resources that include proprietary Personal Chef Office business-management software and online community forums linking successful personal and private chefs nationwide. Additionally, for graduates becoming personal chefs, APPCA will promote their new businesses through its online Find a Personal Chef function.

Sullivan University also offers the Personal/Private Chef Diploma program for night and weekend students encompassing 21 months of study.

Wallace founded the American Personal Chef Association in 1996 as the first significant national effort to recognize the impact of personal chefs on Americans' evolving lifestyles and to provide career and management training to those who aspire to become personal chefs with their own businesses. She forged the positioning of personal chefs as culinary professionals, culminating in 2002 with a formal partnership with the American Culinary Federation to award certification to qualified personal chefs. The following year, she was honored with the International Association of Culinary Professionals' (IACP) Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2006, Wallace earned additional industry accolades by being first to formally acknowledge the contributions of private chefs to American society and address their specific professional needs, by restructuring her organization to become the American Personal & Private Chef Association.

"Personal and private chefs provide a solution to what an increasing number of Americans lack the time and know-how to do: Create home-cooked, palate-specific meals that taste great, are a healthy alternative to fast food, and cost no more than dining out," says Wallace. "Never has there been a better time to pursue a career as a personal or private chef."

"For more than 45 years, the goal of Sullivan University has been to prepare students for success, and we have the record to prove it," says Chef Tom Hickey, CEC, CCE, CFE, CHE, director of Sullivan University's National Center for Hospitality Studies. "Our courses have continually evolved to meet the needs of the business world, and our innovation in launching the nation's first diploma program for personal and private chefs is merely the latest example of our leadership in meeting the future head on. We're excited to guide prospective personal and private chefs in achieving fulfilling careers that will serve and sustain them throughout their lives, while contributing to the betterment of American society as a whole."

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For more information on the new Personal/Private Chef Diploma program at Sullivan University, visit

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