Mike Pendergrast

Mike Pendergrast

I want every single one of my students, at some point in their career, to have worked hard enough and learned enough to be better than me. Mike Pendergrast , Culinary Instructor , The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I work in the industry consulting, catering, and most often as a line cook, so I bring anecdotes from my day-to-day life into the class to address the kinds of challenges my students will face in the real world.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

I want to see the culmination of each student’s technique and what they’ve learned, so the exit practicals are very Important to me. My attitude is, we’ve given you the tools, now can you make it happen.

How do you inspire your students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

I love the challenges I face every day. It’s not for everybody, but the stress is what drives me to be better than I was yesterday. I throw students “curve balls” to see how they react...and whether they can make good decisions under stress.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

Don't let anybody outwork you. You earn respect by trying to be equal or better than everybody you work with, and by treating everyone as though they’re equal or better than you.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I come from a family of teachers. If we didn't love it, we wouldn't do it. We may teach vastly different subjects, but we all find inspiration through our students.