WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wichita State University (WSU) Tech is ready to train the future chefs of Wichita at a new location starting in January.

The school offers NICHE, the National Institute for Culinary and Hospitality Education. The culinary arts program has been at a temporary location for its first year. But in January, it moved to 124 S. Broadway in downtown Wichita.

The school has an information session on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. at the new location. Those who go will hear from the chefs who lead the program, speak with a program enrollment advisor and get an exclusive first look at the new training facilities, kitchens and classrooms.

Students can choose to get a technical certificate which takes about a year, or an associate’s degree, which takes two years.

“I think that’s what students don’t understand is all the different opportunities in culinary,” Jennifer Seymour, vice president of WSU Tech’s General Education and Applied Technology. “You don’t have to just work in a fine dining experience. There’s so many different things you can do, and we’ll be exposing them to that as well.”

The new NICHE location offers five culinary lab kitchens, including one pastry kitchen, a banquet kitchen, a chocolate room, two classrooms, a student lounge, and a conference room. Students will also have access to a student library and private study rooms on the lower level of the building.

“We are so excited to welcome students to the National Institute for Culinary and Hospitality Education,” Dr. Sheree Utash, president of WSU Tech, said in a news release. “Our hope is with the addition of this state-of-the-art facility in downtown Wichita that it will bring new life to our city`s core, expand the career pathway options for individuals in our region and promote Wichita as a destination for culinary and hospitality education.”

Graduates of the culinary program will be experts in the kitchen, able to assist with menu development, product innovation and more.

“One thing that sets our program apart is the amount of time that students are actually hands-on in the kitchen — over 1,000 hours hands-on in the kitchen actually working and learning the skills that they need to be successful in industry,” Seymour said.

She said the goal is to attract students in culinary programs in local high schools, so they stay in the Wichita area.

“We feel like this is a hotbed for culinary, and we want to just continue to add to the opportunity and grow the experience and make sure that students who come out of these programs are top-notch,” Seymour said.

She said it is not too late to enroll for spring. Classes start Jan. 17. Click here to learn more.