"All of our lab-based classes will be small. Instructors can work closely with students."
And by instructors, Evans means him.
"Right now, it's just me. We'll be taking on another 12 students in the fall and then we'll bring on an adjunct instructor. We will build in increments for the next couple of years so we don't get too big too quickly," he said.
Students in the two-year program will take general education courses along with their culinary classes, all of which were designed to meet standards of the American Culinary Federation, which is the major accreditation organization for culinary programs.
"I pulled all of the information from the ACF and built that into specific modules of the instructions so that hopefully in three years I'll be able to apply for accreditation," Evans said.
Parkersburg restaurants will be the beneficiaries of the new school, as students will serve internships as part of their program.
"I've actually met with several chefs from the area and a lot of the downtown businesses are very excited for us to be there," Evans said. "It's created a lot of buzz."
One of the rewarding things about teaching culinary arts in the current economy is that graduates can most assuredly get jobs.
"The food service industry is the No. 1 job service provider behind the U.S. government, so the industry itself employs a vast amount of people," Evans said. "The good thing is that people always need to eat."
Evans said one reason he was excited to make the career move was that WVU-Parkersburg is committed to developing a diversified program with its agriculture program.
"One of the things we plan on doing is the agriculture students will be growing a lot of the produce we use. So we are taking a farm-to-table approach. We will be planning trips to the farm so each can see what the other is doing. That was part of the allure that brought me here."