Chef Lampros Tzimas, Instructor of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, believes teaching is all about sharing and preparing students to be in the real world. He was named the 2017 Master Teacher for his passion for the culinary arts, dedication to student success, and professionalism in the classroom and kitchen.

Tzimas, originally from Greece, came to Moraine Valley 12 years ago to learn English. He enrolled in the Culinary Arts program and graduated in 2007. After working in the industry for a few years, including running his own restaurant, he was hired as a faculty member in 2010.

“I almost left Moraine Valley because learning English was very difficult, but people told me to stick with it. I instill that in my students today. Some students want to run when they see the kitchen, but I tell them, ‘You are here now. Let’s try and do the things you came here to do,’” he said. “I want to be their role model, to guide and coach them in different ways. I am very proud and honored for this award.”

Chef Tzimas was nominated for the award by one of his students, who said his enthusiasm for cooking is contagious, and students are inspired by him to hone their culinary skills and have fun doing it. By modeling the core values of professionalism, respect and integrity in the classroom every day, he earns immediate respect from his students.

“Given the excellent instruction and compassionate teaching methods, I know students who leave his program will have no problem working in a professional kitchen,” said his nominator. “Class lectures were always well-prepared, and kitchen demonstrations were detailed and well-executed. Questions never went unanswered and were often accompanied with real-world stories and examples.”

Chef Tzimas spends a lot of class time answering questions on career choices and what is considered a good job. Because he has worked in the field, he knows the demands, needs and wants inside kitchens, and he loves sharing that information with his students to help make them aware of the new skills and techniques the industry demands. His biggest challenge is teaching students who have a different perspective of what culinary arts is based on what they have seen on TV cooking shows.

“I am very happy to be in Moraine Valley’s family, and when I see that family give me a prestigious award for doing what I love to do, I am happy and thrilled,” Chef Tzimas said. “It’s a beautiful thing to be recognized by colleagues.