Jan 20, 2009

Live from Kitchel’s kitchen — Culinary creativity sparked

by Danielle Talbert, LIFE! Reporter

Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) professor Linda Kitchel believes in the necessity of training students in the skills necessary to uphold the family.

Before arriving at Liberty in 2004, Kitchel spent over 20 years teaching everything from pre-school to college. She received her B.S. in FACS from Radford University and her Masters in Education from North Carolina State University.

At Liberty, Kitchel teaches food science, gourmet foods, quantity foods, program planning/evaluation and curriculum/practicum. She also supervises the FACS student teachers. Her favorite class to teach is FACS 480, Teaching FACS, because she gets to share her experiences as a teacher with her students in order to prepare them for their career.
“It is rewarding to know I may have had a small part in the success of their teaching careers,” Kitchel said.

Her favorite food to cook is French fried eggplant, a South Carolina recipe which she learned from her mother-in-law. She said she enjoys sharing this rare dish with her classes because few people have experienced it.

American southern cuisine is one of her preferred things to prepare. Her favorite place to visit is Food Network star Paula Dean’s restaurant in Charleston, S.C. because of its southern flair.

One thing that adds to Kitchel’s passion for culinary education is the fact that she grew up on a peanut farm. The farm in Windsor, Va. that her father owned has been in the family for 80 years and is now run by her brother. While Kitchel admits to not doing a lot of cooking with peanuts, she did share that the closeness of a family farm has shaped her career in a unique way. She said family is very important and that is why God placed her in the FACS department. She counts it a blessing to be able to teach about the family.

“Family is the core of life and is ordained by God,” Kitchel said.
She readily shares about her family to whomever will listen and wishes to do her part to pass on godly family skills through her classroom. Both her daughters are married and her daughter, Dr. Angela Olmsted, teaches nursing here at Liberty. Angela and her husband have two daughters who Kitchel said consume most of her time. Kitchel’s other daughter, Lorrie currently teaches fifth grade in Amherst.

Kitchel’s vision for the FACS department is to graduate more FACS students to go out and teach what she refers to as a “critical area.” She explained that the teachers are in very high demand, especially those coming from Liberty. The commonwealth of Virginia is even giving scholarships to FACS students that will teach in-state after graduation because of this high demand.

Kitchel is proud of the students Liberty sends out from the FACS program. She recalls one occasion when the principal of a Colorado school called Liberty’s department to say what an excellent job the graduate was doing at the school. The principal then asked for more Liberty graduates. Another illustration she gave was of a student taken by a local high school to teach on a provisional license, before even graduating.

“These are examples of how the Lord can lead you,” Kitchel said. She is proud that Liberty has no trouble placing its FACS graduates.

Kitchel hopes to teach FACS classes for many years to come and is excited about an upcoming addition to the curriculum. She said in 2010 Liberty will add a culinary food service management degree.

“I am honored to teach at Liberty and to have the opportunity to share what [God] has done in my life and help mold lives for his service,” Kitchel said.




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