Ketchum angling for a culinary school

Teya Vitu//November 1, 2018

Ketchum angling for a culinary school

Teya Vitu//November 1, 2018

A new Sun Valley Culinary Institute is proposed for the former Globus restaurant space in Ketchum. Photo courtesy of Paul Kenny.

A new culinary school is in the works for the former Globus restaurant space that closed Oct. 6 in downtown Ketchum.

The Sun Valley Culinary Institute is a collaboration between food industry notables Paul Hineman and Chris Koetke and Sun Valley Economic Development, which is “incubating” the project, said Harry Griffith, SVED’s executive director.

Griffith has sought a culinary institute for a decade, stemming from a 2006-08 study that recommended Ketchum consider establishing a regional economic development organization, which was accomplished with SVED, and a vocational educational institution. Culinary quickly rose to the top, Griffith said.

It took a decade to get the culinary school. Griffith said three components had to line up: an entrepreneurial team, a location and investors.

“We have all three of those now,” Griffith said.

The project may have an initial undisclosed investment, but Griffith hedged that another $250,000 to $300,000 needs to be committed in the next three to six weeks for the institute to move forward. Those dollars would be part of a $750,000 campaign to cover operational cash deficits over the first five years, he said.

“This is not going to be your typical culinary institute,” Griffith said.

He described it as a public-private concept with the ambition to have scholarships for students funded by donations as well as paid internships at local restaurants. Griffith said he is collaborating with the Blaine County Housing Authority to provide dorm housing for students

“In the course of a year, you get intensive culinary training and real-world work experience,” Griffith said. “You will get out (of the institute) with no debt.”

Paul Hineman recently resigned as chief financial officer at First Watch Restaurants, which has more than 340 restaurants in 30 states, and previously was executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association. Hineman also served in senior finance and accounting positions at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Planet Hollywood International.

Chris Koetke, host of Live Well network’s “Let’s Dish,” recently stepped down as executive director and instructor of the culinary school at Kendall College in Chicago, where he had taught since 1998. He worked in elite kitchens in France before becoming executive chef at Chicago’s Les Nomades.

Globus restaurant shut down Oct. 6 after five years at the 5,700-square-foot space on Washington Avenue between First and Second streets that the culinary institute will occupy. The institute will inherit the property’s liquor license.

“We’re not going to be operating as a restaurant, but we will operate as a bar periodically.” Griffith said.

The culinary institute could open as soon as May and will be available as an event center.

“This is going to be another component of Ketchum’s entertainment district,” said Griffith, referring to the cluster of Forest Service Park, the Magic Lantern, The Argyros performance space and the Limelight Hotel Ketchum at the south end of downtown.