Mount Pleasant Magazine Nov/Dec 2023

74 | | When Johnson & Wales closed its Charleston campus in 2006 it created a gap in the areas of hospitality and culinary arts education that needed to be addressed. The Culinary Institute of Charleston, the only branded division at Trident Technical College, stepped in to fill that void after J&W left, according to Nathan Rex, dean of CIC. Since that time the division and its culinary program have grown significantly over the years—in terms of curriculum offerings, faculty and course content—to meet the rising needs of the community, Rex said. Mike Saboe oversaw the bulk of that transition and growth at CIC, serving 15 years as dean prior to his retirement in summer 2022. Trident Tech hired Rex as his replacement in September 2022. Rex was a student in Trident Tech’s Culinary Arts program in 2003 prior to it becoming branded as CIC, pursuing a dual degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality and Tourism Management. Saboe was an instructor of his who also became a mentor. Rex spent two years at Trident Tech, then transferred to the University of South Carolina to complete his four-year degree. He then worked nine years in hotel operations in Las Vegas (earning his MBA at UNLV during his time there). Rex stayed in touch with Saboe the entire time he lived in Las Vegas. Saboe ultimately offered him an opportunity to teach online courses in hotel management with CIC as an adjunct instructor. In 2015, CIC hired Rex as its Hospitality and Tourism department head, bringing him back to campus. He worked in the position until assuming his current role as dean. For a long time, there wasn’t any change in the CIC faculty, but in the past year they have been hiring. They needed to fill Rex’s vacant department head role, and there have been additional hires within the division, including a new program coordinator for Culinary Arts and a new Hospitality and Tourism instructor. “We’ve got a very strong culture here, a strong team” stated Rex. “Really I knew coming into this new role that the key is to maintain the culture and the continuity— the consistency—for the students, and our relationships throughout the community as well.” DEGREE AND CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS CIC currently offers three degree programs which are all two-year associate degrees: Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry and Hospitality and Tourism Management. Students can enroll in any two programs at once while attending CIC. There are also 10 certificate programs in areas such as Advanced Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry, Cake Decorating, Dietary Manager, Food and Beverage Operations, Event Management, Hotel Operations and Hospitality Entrepreneurship. The hospitality faculty recently developed the Hospitality Entrepreneurship program to Cooked to Perfection BY COLIN MCCANDLESS CULINARY INSTITUTE OF CHARLESTON A LEADER IN THE KITCHEN Two CIC students cook salmon on the grill as an instructor looks on. CIC students working on desserts in the baking kitchen.