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Abstract

In this qualitative pilot study, the author conducts research on chef educators and their background and interest in, preparation for, and comfort level with teaching college students about culinary sustainability. Five chef educators teaching in a culinary/hospitality program were interviewed about their personal and professional experiences with culinary sustainability. Two broad themes emerged from the data. First, initial exposure of participants to culinary sustainability was impactful and led to subsequent internalized, habitual practices. Two sub-themes under this first finding were related to the influence of early family and early career experiences. Second, continued learning about sustainable culinary practices is primarily self-driven. Participants additionally indicated a need for consistent professional development, particularly as sustainable culinary practices are embedded in a rapidly changing larger context of ethics and discussions about sustainability in general. The author provides professional and leadership development suggestions, as well as ideas for future research that could expand on this pilot study.

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