The Culinary Arts Department at Moraine Valley Community College is firing up in its new demonstration kitchen in the Moraine Business and Conference Center (Building M).

Originally in the plans when Building M was first constructed, the demo kitchen couldn’t be incorporated and instead remained a classroom. But the idea was always to make it an interactive kitchen for multiple uses, said Mike O’Shea, associate professor and program coordinator of Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry, and Hospitality Management.

Over the summer, crews created a state-of-the-art kitchen that has the look of a model house design but with all the functionalities for students, including a stove, oven, dishwasher, sinks, industrial-sized refrigerator with freezer, and plenty of counter space.

On either side of the room are two TV monitors with one camera on the ceiling closest to the south-facing windows and another moveable one attached to the counter. The camera can hover over pots on the stove or get a close-up view of an instructor chopping vegetables so students can clearly see techniques. In the Culinary Arts kitchen across the hall students often crowd around a wide table making it a challenge to see the demonstrated skills. This new space is a greater learning tool, said Rose Deneen, assistant professor of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

“It is more engaging for the students. It gives people a better visual, which is really cool. If you really want to see what’s going on, you can put a camera right over the pot,” she said. “We didn’t want it to look industrial. We wanted to make it approachable. This is a nice, smaller space. It’s louder in the kitchen, which we’re used to but other people aren’t.”

With the start of the semester, the instructors have yet to realize all its uses, but they have many ideas. Students can watch instructors teach certain techniques, but the more advanced students also can display their skills. It’s not uncommon for chefs to work in front of peers, and this allows students to practice working comfortably in front of others, Deneen explained.

In addition to credit student usage, the kitchen will be used for continuing education classes, fundraisers and guest speakers.