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Be our guest

The new dean at The Culinary Institute of the South dishes on TCL’s culinary program and foodseum.

Story by Carrie Hirsch + photos by Butch Hirsch

Francine Marz, the new dean of culinary and hospitality at the Culinary Institute of the South at Technical College of the Lowcountry, says a lot is cooking at the new 30,000-square-foot training facility featuring six academic classrooms, two teaching kitchens, a show kitchen, baking lab, lecture theater, café and teaching restaurant. 

On the menu is the school’s FOODseum debut in the spring of 2023. It will be the first of its kind in the South and will serve up immersive, interactive and revolving exhibits spotlighting themes including seafood, Gullah/Geechee and farm-to-table, along with photographs and videos featuring Southern chefs. Visual displays will preserve Lowcountry agriculture and farming history and will showcase artifacts such as kitchen utensils, farming tools, recipes and cookbooks.

LOCAL Life finds Marz, who’s also a chef, has no reservations about the potential of the Culinary Institute and its home in the Lowcountry.

[LOCAL Life] You attended Johnson & Wales in Charleston and now you’re the new dean of culinary and hospitality at the Culinary Institute of the South at Technical College of the Lowcountry. Are you in love with the Lowcountry, its food, or both? [Francine Marz] I grew up in South Carolina and just love the Lowcountry, the food, the beach and the hospitality. I loved living in Charleston, and I love the mystique that the Lowcountry personifies. This area is amazing, has so much Southern charm, and the sunsets are absolutely breathtaking. I am extremely honored to be the dean of culinary and hospitality at the Culinary Institute of the South, and I’m really looking forward to meeting and getting to know the local chefs, restaurateurs and local community members.

[LL] Looks like you joined the TCL team at an exciting time. That FOODseum is sure to be a shining star of the program. How do you hope to position the school in terms of culinary education? [FM] This area is growing by leaps and bounds, and it’s exciting to be a part of something new. I have experience opening and growing culinary schools and am excited about all of the potential opportunities that I can provide for our TCL students and members of the surrounding community. The culinary school is gorgeous, and I am very excited about the FOODseum that will be opening in the spring. Between the new museum, the modern building and facilities, the chefs and the events that we are a part of, the Culinary Institute of the South is quickly becoming an epicenter of Lowcountry cuisine.

[LL] What are the students like at the Culinary Institute of the South? [FM] I absolutely love it when students are able to follow their passion and push themselves beyond their own limits. It’s so rewarding to help students pursue their dreams and experience things that they once thought were impossible or unachievable.

[LL] What do you like to eat when you’re cooking a casual meal for yourself at home? [FM] I love cooking good food simply by using local ingredients and letting their true characteristics shine. There is nothing better than cooking and eating a local shrimp/ seafood dish, a seasonal salad and pairing it with a nice glass of white wine.


The FOODseum will showcase immersive exhibits, guest lecturers and hands-on seminars. Visual displays will preserve Lowcountry agriculture and farming history and will showcase artifacts such as kitchen utensils, farming tools, recipes and cookbooks. Photographs and videos will feature Southern chefs from the Lowcountry and beyond. Revolving exhibits will spotlight themes such as Gullah, Geechee, seafood, farm-to-table and more.


Francine Marz 

The “Best Creamed Corn Ever” 

Ingredients 

1 cup heavy cream

4 ounces cream cheese (can be flavored)

8 ears of corn, shucked and cut off the cob (to add a bit more flavor, roast or grill the corn prior to cutting off the cob)

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions [1] Combine heavy cream and cream cheese in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir until well blended, when the sauce is smooth and creamy. [2] Stir in corn kernels. Add butter and heat until the corn is cooked and the cream is bubbly. [3] Add sugar and season with salt and pepper. Optional: Garnish with fresh sage leaves or chopped parsley.


Upcoming events to benefit The Culinary Institute of the South

October 27: Media personality Jesse Blanco, host of “Eat It and Like It” television show, will host Fried Chicken & Champagne at the Culinary School. Featured chefs are Francine Marz, Chef Clayton Rolston and Chef Ben, The Sea Pines Resort. More details at tcl.edu.

November 10: Fourth annual Chefs’ Table Benefit & Auction for the Culinary Institute of the South at Technical College of the Lowcountry at the Harbour Town Country Club. This year’s special guest is Nathalie Dupree. More details at tcl.edu.

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