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Callaway Foundation President Tripp Penn speaks at the opening of the West Georgia Technical College culinary kitchen earlier this week. --Jenna Oden

College opens culinary kitchen

By Jenna Oden

They cooked up something special. 

West Georgia Technical College opened the doors to its new commercial kitchen and instructional space for culinary arts at the Callaway Conference Center Tuesday morning.

“One of our biggest challenges, is people telling us we need a new program,” said WGTC President Scott Rule. “You want to see success for your neighbors, your family, your friends in a program we don’t offer but need desperately. I have to figure out how to get that done.” 

Rule said that they figured it out and will soon offer culinary classes and host cooking demonstrations. 

The new kitchen will also be used when the conference center hosts events. 

“We could not have done this without the Callaway Foundation,” Rule said. 

The culinary arts program was originally only offered at the Newnan and Douglas locations. Now Troup residents going to WGTC will now be able to enroll in the program. 

“Educating our community is important to the Callaway Foundation,” said Callaway Foundation President Tripp Penn. “It always has been. If you think about it, there aren’t many guarantees out of the life of poverty. Good quality education is probably the closest thing you could have.” 

Penn said quality education is one of the key ingredients to a vital community. 

“Our return on investment is the quality of life of citizens in Troup County,” Penn said. “This project will absolutely impact quality of life, not only in Troup County but across the region.” 

The culinary arts classes for students are expected to begin during the summer term based on enrollment numbers and interest. Continued education classes for the non-traditional student is expected to begin within the next few weeks. 

“Hopefully, those enrollment numbers will be there for us, so we can get those classes up and running,” said WGTC Instructor and Program Chairman Chef Dennis Edwards. “We are also considering partnering with Troup County for dual enrollment classes.” 

To start out, WGTC will offer the baking and pastry specialist certificates through the program. 

“Later on, we will offer the full production worker certificate, and then eventually move into the diploma as well as the degree program,” Edwards said. “There are students that really want to come to culinary school. I am sure we can get our enrollment numbers up.”

To learn more about the culinary arts program, visit westgatech.edu/admissions. 

For more information, cooking demonstrations that will be held throughout the month of March and beginning of April call (706) 756-4586. Cooking demonstrations are $60 per class.