Melina Kelson-Podolsky, a pastry-chef instructor at the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, recently was honored with a 2012 Leadership Award from Modern Baking magazine in the Industry Service category.
Kelson-Podolsky, whose parents were food writers, graduated from Ithaca College in New York state with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, but her first job was in a scone bakery. She later earned her pastry certificate from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). Kelson-Podolsky worked for James Beard Award-winning restaurants and taught at CHIC before joining Kendall as an instructor in 2005.
In addition to being one of only a handful of Certified Master Bakers in the United States, Kelson-Podolsky sits on the board of directors of the Bread Baker’s Guild of America. She was director of the Guild’s three-day baking-education event, WheatStalk 2012, held at Kendall College in June. The event brought together 150 attendees and 30 baking and pastry teachers. As chair of the Guild’s international committee, she also organized bakery tours in Paris during Europain 2012, where the Baking World Cup was held, chaperoning 15 Kendall students who witnessed the World Cup and experienced Parisian baking first hand.
Additionally, Kelson-Podolsky oversaw and participated in the construction of Kendall College’s outdoor wood-fired bread oven used in teaching and supplying baked goods for Kendall’s Michelin Guide-recommended public restaurant, further distinguishing Kendall’s culinary-arts and hospitality programs as unique among all professional training programs in northeastern Illinois.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Chef Kelson-Podolsky’s accomplishments and influence in her field, not only prior to her tenure at Kendall College, but over the last seven years as an integral member of our experienced faculty,” says Renee Zonka, RD, CEC, CHE, dean of the School of Culinary Arts. “Her commitment to students is unparalleled, and her passion for teaching the art and science of baking is second to none.””
Modern Baking is a leading trade publication covering all aspects of the baking industry, providing the latest product and service information to the retail baking and foodservice markets. This year marks the 25th anniversary of both the magazine and its Leadership Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions in seven categories: Commitment to Quality, Training, Marketing, Profitability, Management, Merchandising and Industry Service.