ACF Chef Daryl Shular, CMC, discusses new wave culinary education, workforce development

“Culinary education needs a new approach.” That’s the tagline of the culinary education program Chef Daryl Shular, CMC, launched two years ago as a way to help raise up culinary leaders of the future.

The Shular Institute operates out of Chef Shular’s restaurant, Farmed Kitchen and Bar in Tucker, Georgia, which he opened around the same time as the school (starting with takeout only during COVID-19 dining closures). “Ours is more of a leadership program that focuses on advancing students’ careers in the hospitality industry and building the workforce in the Atlanta metro area,” says Chef Shular. The first official group of 12 students will start in August. Chef Shular is also working on a second location for the program in Milwaukee.

“Our cohort is very diverse,” says Chef Shular, who notes that the age range of students goes from 17 to 25 with some career changers in their 40s. “Our curriculum is more advanced; we have a strong focus on business savviness and entrepreneurship.” Students have a choice of three programs: a six-month introductory program that includes an internship; a 10-month advanced culinary program focused on international cuisines; or another 10-month advanced program focused on entrepreneurship. Students also have plenty of real-world, hands-on training opportunities at Chef Shular’s restaurant.

“Our goal is to be accredited through the ACF, as well as with the National Restaurant Association and the [Georgia state] Department of Labor,” Chef Shular says. To get in, students need to submit an application  with two letters of recommendation and complete both an interview and a practical exam meant to test culinary fundamentals.

So why start another culinary school? Chef Shular says, “I’ve been in education throughout my entire career; I’ve spent 12 years at the Art Institute and five years as director of Le Cordon Bleu [both in Atlanta]. It’s been a passion of mine to create a program that keeps the educational process as current as possible. I don’t want to create a program that simply pumps out students like a puppy mill. That’s why we keep our tuition rates modest in comparison to other programs so our students don’t go into serious debt.” Chef Shular says the nonprofit arm of the program brings in funds from corporate donations in order to keep the costs down for students. “I’m not trying to make money off this program; this is my way of giving back and helping keep our industry alive,” he says.

Chef Shular will join fellow ACF Chefs Ed Leonard, CMC, Shawn Loving, CMC and Brian Beland, CMC, for a keynote demo at the 2022 ACF National Convention. Click here to learn more about and register for convention.