Chef Cindy Komarinski Leads Culinary Arts Programs
Cindy Komarinski (BUS '00) answers to professor, executive and personal chef, innkeeper, mom, farmer and student.
Komarinski, professor of culinary arts/hospitality programs at Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC) in Youngwood, Pa., was named 2011 Distinguished Alumnus of WCCC, where she developed curriculum for new courses and coordinates a chef apprenticeship program.
Komarinski credits her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother for her love of food and her culinary career path. Her paternal grandfather was Italian and her grandmother quickly learned his family's favorites; her maternal grandmother had an English style of cooking; and her great-grandmother's nationality was more Eastern European.
Upon graduating in 1984 with an associate's degree in food service management from WCCC, she worked as a cafeteria manager at Connellsville Area School District. She then worked as a country club assistant manager and taught part-time bartending and wait staff training classes at WCCC. When her children went to school, so did she, receiving her undergraduate business administration degree from Robert Morris University. She taught the baking and pastry program at Connellsville Area Career and Technology Center while working on her teaching certificate. She received a full-time teaching position at WCCC 15 years ago.
She wanted her M.B.A. and Point Park was "the perfect fit," going to school eight hours every Saturday for a year, while working full time. "It was very doable. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. That was wonderful and met my professional needs," said Komarinski, who finished her first year working on her Ph.D.
Komarinski's busy life goes beyond the classroom. She and her husband, Daniel, live on a 170-acre farm in Farmington, Fayette County, raising their own cattle, and wait for vegetables, berries, apples and tomatoes to come in season. They have five grown children and four grandchildren. She believes cooking and eating go hand in hand, and doesn't really have a favorite dish, but her favorite way to cook and eat is with the seasons. She and her sister, Lauri Jones, operated Evergreen Hollow Ranch and Guesthouse near Farmington. She was executive chef and conducted culinary classes and cooking camps, hosted weddings and pheasant hunts. Though the 1875 remodeled inn was sold in 2006, she still receives calls from across the country.
Komarinski earned the professional certifications of certified culinary educator and certified chef de cuisine from the American Culinary Federation. She was also president, and named Chef of the Year 2006, of the American Culinary Federation Laurel Highlands Chapter.
Text by Melissa Williams Schofield
Photo by Martha Rial
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University.