The University of Memphis held the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new culinary facility in Cordova. The property allows for a more expansive culinary focus for hospitality majors at the UofM.
Antonio Scott, SGA President, said the new culinary facility provides the UofM with a new path to expand on.
“It’s a sign that the university is growing,” Scott said. “For us to be in a city known for its barbecue and its wide array of food choices, it makes sense that the city’s university has a culinary institute. Today is a special day not only for students here but for our entire Memphis community as well.”
Scott said the institute would not have been possible without the Kemmons-Wilson family and the university staff.
“All credit is to the amazing Kem Wilson family and the amazing professionals at the university,” Scott said. “Whether it be in the school of hospitality and resort management, marketing or communications, there are a lot of folks that deserve credit. I was not one of them, so I’ll give credit where credit is due. They did an absolutely phenomenal job to know that this is going to be and advancement in our campus, and I think the city is going to definitely grow from it.”
M. David Rudd, president of the UofM, said the new institution is one of the best decisions made by the university.
“I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty. This is going to prove to be one of the best investments that the University of Memphis has ever made,” Rudd said. “There is not a better place to have a culinary institute than in Memphis. It is distinctive about Memphis and the University of Memphis. We need to be invested a part of this city, and we are thrilled to have this opportunity.”
Kem Wilson, a donor for the culinary institute, said the new addition continues what his father was building before him.
“The hospitality school has my father’s name on it, so it’s a tribute to him and his career,” Wilson said. “So we are delighted that get to keep the legacy going, and the culinary institute is the cherry on top of the ice-cream.”
Wilma Rydner, an attendee at the ceremony, said overall she thought the institute was a great investment by the UofM.
“The kitchens look fabulous, this has been a beautiful turnout, and I’m very glad they bought this building,” Rydner said. “The food has been excellent, which goes to show that the students have excellent teachers.”
“Elliot Morris, another attendee, said this opens new paths for the UofM and its students.
“It’s an avenue to grow chefs and a complete industry around food that wasn’t around in the city. So to me, its an avenue for people in Memphis and at the UofM to come and explore a field that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to,” Morris said. “I associate Memphis with excellence, so it was awesome to see all the stainless steel and all the potential. That’s what you see here really, not only a nice place but potential for generations of people that love food and want to be apart of it.”