January 10, 2014

Ken Hause, Campus Director

While welcoming the new year and anticipating the good to come, we also wanted to take a moment and reflect on all the great things that happened in 2013. We thought there was no better person to do this than our Campus Director, Ken Hause. Here he tells us why – after ten years at a competitive culinary school – he came to Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, what made him proud in 2013, and opens the door to a little friendly culinary completion.

Escoffier: What brought you to Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts?
Hause: What attracted me was the focus on farm-to-table, sustainability (where it makes sense), and the sense of community that I didn’t experience at larger, more traditional schools. The reason I joined Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is because it is a far smaller company and school than I’ve worked at in the past.

Escoffier: What are the benefits of being small?
Hause: We are able to build stronger and more personal relationships at this school. The level of individual attention and support that students receive from the faculty is superior in comparison to larger schools. Students at this school are not a number. They are their names; they are individuals. One of the things that I am most proud of is that the leadership team on this campus genuinely cares about the students and their success. I hope the students recognize that, take advantage of that, and come to us for guidance, or help resolving a problem. I will always make myself available and the same can be said for all the folks on the Escoffier team.

Escoffier: Looking back on 2013, was there anything else happening that you are particularly proud of?
Hause: I am particularly proud that we have been able to maintain good relationships with our farm partners while putting purchasing efficiencies in place. We have improved our entrepreneurial coursework (so students have heard about a business plan) and I am very pleased with the new technologies [we have implemented] to help our instructors (for example all instructors have iPads with a wireless connection so that they can have immediate access to live examples, fostering conversations on any given topic instantly). We have a robust faculty development program and [improved] student resource services that provides legal, financial, housing, and emotional counseling resources at no cost to students. We are caring for the student whole.

Escoffier: Sounds like a lot of good things were happening last year. How about 2014, what are your goals?
Hause: There are always opportunities to do a better job serving the students. I am introducing a monthly campus director’s roundtable. I want one-on-one interactions with a variety of students where I hear from them directly about what they like or don’t like about school. I don’t know what I’m going to learn. All I know is that this school will be even better if there is a direct link from students to the director. I’d like to know how we could make the school experience even better. We’re working hard to get there, but we are not perfect. We have this constant hunt for being the best – a constant hunt for excellence.

Escoffier: You often join classes for lunch. What’s your favorite day of the curriculum?
Hause: This was not a physique that was built on one favorite thing (smiling). But…when they are visiting Europe, that is always fun. What is really most exciting to me about those lunches is to watch how quickly students progress. I just sat down with a group who had been here about six weeks – a few weeks ago who could barely bake a chicken breast – and in a very short time they prepared a meal that I’d pay for. I’m always impressed with how quickly students learn, advance, and excel.

Escoffier: You’ve been known to challenge students to cooking competitions, can you tell us about those?
Hause: The over-easy egg competition. I’ve probably done 20 to 30 of those. I think I’ve won two. I like to talk it up with students ahead of time, but the truth is that I know they are going to win. But that is part of the fun.

Escoffier: Should a class challenge you to another type of competition, would you participate?
Hause: In a heartbeat! They just better be prepared to lose (laughing).