Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago Library

By on

by Christina Stoll, Metropolitan Library System, originally appeared in MLS Ennounce

The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, located at 361 West Chestnut in Chicago supports a mission “to prepare students to fulfill their career aspirations and to meet the needs of the food-service industry through quality culinary, pastry arts, hospitality and general education curriculums of higher education.”

The institute offers the following culinary arts programs:

  • Culinary Arts - Associate of Applied Science in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts
  • Pastry and Baking - Associate of Applied Science in Le Cordon Bleu Pâtisserie & Baking
  • Culinary Arts - Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Certificate Program

Courses are offered in three and six week sessions throughout the calendar year.  The entire program is 15 months long.  During the program, students spend five days a week in both formal classroom settings as well as in the kitchen learning the theories and techniques of the profession from dedicated chef instructors.  Students put their front and back of the house skills to work in their final course by splitting their time working the school’s restaurant, Chataigne, as hosts, bartenders, wait staff, and chefs.  Reservations for lunch or dinner can be made by contacting Chataigne at (312) 873-2032.

The school’s library service, headed by librarian Debra Bacon, is housed in its Learning Resource Center.  While initially considering a culinary career and getting a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, Deb continued on to get her Library Science degree.  She was pleased to be able to blend her two passions of food and libraries by coming to work for the Institute.  While Deb is the librarian by title, her culinary background does come in handy for connecting with both faculty and students, who see her as “one of them.”

The library holds close to 7,000 volumes of 70% culinary works and 30% general education materials. Twenty-four computers within the library and a connected 20+ computer media room provide access to the Internet, Microsoft Office, the library’s catalog and CECybrary, a collection of online resources that includes databases and electronic books. CECybrary resources are also accessible remotely.

Deb promotes the library’s presence through her library blog.  Through links from the library blog, Deb offers citation guides, research strategies, and tip sheets. She schedules classroom visits, so she can personally share with students and faculty the services the library has to offer.  She’s found this approach to be most successful in that other faculty members hear about her visit and they want her to come to their class next.

The Learning Resource Center also houses the school’s very busy Tutoring Center and serves as a proctor for test make-ups.  Both individual students and classrooms visit the library to conduct research work.  Often Deb opens the library early or stays after regular hours if she knows a faculty member will be sending students for a particular assignment.
Future library initiatives include weeding the entire collection, continued development of the library program such as expanding its support of information literacy, connecting with more faculty, and demonstrating the blog at upcoming faculty institute days.

For more information about the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and its library, please contact Deb Bacon at

Students working on computers in the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago Library.