The Grand Rapids Downtown Market has named a new director of culinary education, programs and partnerships whose experience includes working as a chef.
The market announced recently it hired Tom Reinhart to serve in the position.
Reinhart will be overseeing the “growth and continued success” of the culinary programs and operations of the Downtown Market, along with management of all teaching kitchen staff.
He will also implement new inter-departmental culinary programs, connecting private events, the greenhouse and teaching kitchen.
Reinhart said the position with the Downtown Market feels like a “natural fit,” combining his “varied experience and love for teaching.”
Reinhart has a decade of experience teaching cooking classes and in curriculum development.
He most recently launched the culinary program for the Grand Rapids Sur La Table location.
He also “envisioned, produced and executed” the business plan for the creation of the Bekins Cooking School.
Reinhart previously served in the military, followed by a career building telecommunication facilities around the world.
During that time, he traveled regularly, which exposed him to many “rich culinary experiences” and sparked his interest in cuisine.
He enrolled in the renowned Culinary Institute of America in New York and embraced his new career with passion.
Upon graduation, Reinhart gained experience in various restaurants, hotels and finally private clubs, where he first began teaching others to cook.
Since then, he has dedicated himself to helping people enjoy the pleasure and benefits of cooking for themselves.
“I’m eager to share my love of cuisine through teaching and help create new and exciting ways for people to experience healthy cooking and eating in Grand Rapids,” Reinhart said.
Mimi Fritz, Downtown Market president and CEO, said since 2013, the culinary education program has “grown substantially” to include “a comprehensive programming model with a director, full culinary staff and classes three to four times a week.”
“Chef Tom brings a high level of experience and knowledge to our team, which he’ll use to expand our culinary programs and establish new ideas and curriculum,” Fritz said.