Peggy Ryan Named Women Chefs & Restaurateurs 2009 Educator of the Year

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 3, 2009 – Peggy Ryan, a culinary instructor in the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College, Chicago, received Women Chefs & Restaurateurs’ (WCR) 2009 Educator of the Year Award today during the association’s national conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. 

WCR’s Educator of the Year Award, sponsored by Visa Signature, recognizes excellence in culinary education and honors a woman whose dedication to teaching is making a difference to the culinary community. Ryan was selected among all candidates by a committee of culinary professionals. 

“I was lucky enough to be Chef Ryan’s student for the final block of my associate degree,” says Christine Sathern, who nominated Ryan for the award and is now a teaching assistant pursuing her bachelor’s degree in culinary arts at Kendall College. “I had never truly believed in myself or my skills, and upon beginning our class I realized that Chef Ryan believes in you more than anyone else does. She pushes her students to their greatest abilities, and then some. Because of her, I earned a position as sous chef when I was only 20 years old. Chef Ryan is my one true inspiration in this industry.” 

Ryan brings more than 30 years of culinary and management experience to her role as daytime executive chef of Kendall College’s public fine-dining restaurant, The Dining Room at Kendall College, where she instructs two- and four-year-degree students in the realities of executing a cutting-edge menu with high service standards and a commitment to ecological stewardship, all within a fast-paced environment.  

“We’re committed to a contemporary American menu selection with several examples of international fusion,” Ryan says. “‘Innovative’ best describes my cooking philosophy, but it’s rooted in classic technique. It’s also largely sustainable, as our restaurant is the only one in the United States that is both certified by the Green Restaurant Association and operates within a culinary school.” 

Ryan’s primary focus for most of her career has been the cuisine of Italy. As former chef and owner of Va Pensiero in Evanston, Ill., she conducted extensive research abroad to hone her knowledge and skills. Her restaurant received many outstanding reviews from Zagat and Chicago’s two major newspapers, as well as suburban papers. Her expertise in Italian cooking and foodways qualifies Ryan to teach such Kendall curriculum electives as Italian Pastas, Cuisine of Italy and Cuisine of Tuscany. 

Thanks to her accomplished former life as a restaurateur and executive chef, Ryan—who has consulted for major corporations such as Sara Lee, Kraft Foods and Darden Restaurants—brings a unique and well-rounded perspective to her teaching, according to Christopher Koetke, CEC, CCE, dean of Kendall’s School of Culinary Arts. “Chef Ryan embodies the quintessential culinary educator: a superb teacher with unparalleled real-world experience as a successful chef and restaurateur,” he says. “Kendall College could not be more proud to have her among our faculty, as she contributes to our distinction as one of the best culinary-training programs in the world.”  

About Women Chefs & Restaurateurs

Founded in 1993 by eight prominent women chefs and restaurateurs, WCR’s mission is to promote and enhance the education, advancement and connection of women in the foodservice industry. WCR, with headquarters in Madison, Ala., offers a variety of networking, professional and support services to more than 2,000 members representing all industry sectors. To learn more about the opportunities offered by WCR, visit

About Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts

Founded in 1985, the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College is among the premier culinary-training programs in the United States, offering associate and bachelor’s degrees and certificates in culinary arts as well as associate degrees and certificates in baking and pastry. The school occupies a stunning “Riverworks” campus near downtown Chicago. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission has accredited the Culinary Arts Associate and Baking & Pastry Associate programs since 1988. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2009, Kendall College also operates Schools of Hospitality Management, Business and Education. Since 1962, it has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (, 800.621.7440). Kendall College is a member of the Laureate International Universities network. For more information, visit