Rachel Homan, CC, MBA

Culinary Arts

Culinary Program Chair
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Chef Rachel Homan Culinary Program Chair

As educators, we provide the background and fundamentals students can use not just for cooking, but for their entire career. Rachel Homan , Culinary Program Chair , The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

As a kid, I was fascinated by the process of preparing food, and I wondered how people in kitchens knew what to do. My grandfather was always willing to answer my questions and teach me what he knew. I had worked in restaurants during college and found the energy, the passion, and the creativity within the culinary industry too hard to leave behind. Through education, I have been able to share my passion, knowledge and experiences with our students.

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

I use my experience to relate classroom discussions to the real world. These discussions allow students to see and relate their own day-to-day experiences with concepts taught in the classroom.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

It’s very easy to see and understand the flash and dazzle of a kitchen, and it inspires us every day to keep creating. What we don’t see is the work the chef puts into purchasing ingredients, maximizing the talent in his or her kitchen, or developing new dishes on the menu. As educators, we provide the background and fundamentals students can use not just for cooking, but for their entire career.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

Professional kitchens cannot run with one individual. It requires a team of individuals with varying skill sets working together to achieve their goals. Collaboration provides students, with different viewpoints, opportunities to connect with fellow students and push themselves to the next level in the classroom. 

What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

People remember events through the food they eat. Don’t over complicate it. Know your ingredients and prepare each dish to the absolute best of your ability!