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New professor to mentor next generation of chefs

LAS CRUCES--Keith H. Mandabach, an award-winning chef who has studied the history of culinary arts, joined the faculty of New Mexico State University's hotel, restaurant, and tourism management department on June 18.


Mandabach served on the faculties of the University of Missouri at Columbia and Purdue University-North Central. He earned master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Houston, completing a dissertation on the culinary history of the United States before World War II.

Before becoming an educator, Mandabach had a successful career as a chef, which earned him recognition in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Bon Appetit and Gourmet publications. He was trained in classical cuisines by famed chefs of the Rockresorts Corp. and held several major industry positions, including executive chef at: Kiawah Island, S.C.; Crowne Plaza in Memphis, Tenn.; and Crowne Plaza, Houston, Texas. He was training chef for the central region for Holiday Inn and catering service director for Memorial Health Care System.

Mandabach won awards from several culinary societies and was inducted into the honor society of the Academy of Chefs of the American Culinary Federation in 1991.

The move to Las Cruces reaffirms old ties to the region and university, Mandabach said. His great-uncle was fabled NMSU cotton breeder G.N. Stroman. "I knew several of the faculty here and was very excited when this opportunity became available," Mandabach said. "I'm really happy to be here."

Mandabach said he will work closely with two established student organizations and will work to give students the opportunity to become chefs of top properties.

"It will be my job to further develop the food program and integrate it into the leadership and management aspects of the department's curriculum," Mandabach said.