Christopher Kibit, hospitality and tourism management professor at Northern Michigan University, was a semifinalist for the Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award, presented earlier this week at the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) ChefConnect Convention in Hawaii.
"I did not receive the award, but I was up against some stiff competition," said Kibit, who appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Hawaiian culture and food at the ChefConnect event. "It is still quite an honor for me to have been nominated and accepted as a semifinalist from the ACF's central region. The fact my application had to be approved as qualified for the award makes me pretty proud."
The Rusch Award honors chefs who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to both ACF and the culinary profession. Such chefs, through their involvement with and contributions to ACF and the craft, have advanced the culinary profession and ensured the enrichment of students and those already in the profession.
Kibit has been in the hospitality industry since 1976. He is a Certified Culinary Educator through the ACF Educational Institute, and a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) through the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Foundation. Kibit earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Michigan State University.
The Dearborn native has been an ACF member since 1989, affiliated with chapters in Lansing and the Upper Peninsula and serving as president of each chapter during his tenure. Kibit was previously honored by the Lansing ACF chapter with its Chef of the Year award.
In addition to university students, Kibit started an advanced high school culinary program and has coached a culinary team to championships at the Michigan Junior Chef Challenge four of the past five years.
It was an opportunity to cook an omelet for his father as a child that sparked Kibit's passion for the culinary arts.
“My father died when I was almost 13 years old,” said Kibit. “During the last few months of his life he had asked my mother for an omelet, but she suggested he teach me how to make it. I made the omelet for him and to this day I wonder how it turned out, because I just remember him at least acting like he enjoyed it.”