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New partnership and new life for Brae Loch benefits CLC culinary students and community

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Nov 19, 2020

The vacant Brae Loch Golf Club banquet facility on Route 45 in Grayslake will soon be occupied with the next generation of culinary students learning at College of Lake County (CLC). CLC’s Board of Trustees recently approved a 20-year agreement with the Lake County Forest Preserves (LCFP), which owns and manages the Brae Loch property. Students and the community will both benefit from culinary programming and classes, including a student-run restaurant.

CLC's Culinary Program

“Moving our culminating culinary experience from building basement to main street will inspire a new generation of chefs,” said Dr. Jeffery Stomper, dean of business and social sciences. “The new space will be fitted with top-of-the-line kitchen equipment to better train our culinary students, while increasing community awareness of our program and how it prepares the workforce with the latest skills.”

Photo: CLC culinary students work with an instructor in current campus facilities

LCFP president Angelo Kyle said, “We are thrilled with this collaborative partnership between our agencies and that the clubhouse at Brae Loch will be used for such beneficial purpose. This agreement will help expand the college’s hospitality and culinary management program, and provide a tremendous educational opportunity for the students at a location with much improved exposure and community access. We look forward to visiting CLC’s student restaurant at its new location.”

Stomper added, “The community is about to get a bigger bite of how awesome our students and teaching faculty are. Upscale-dining at affordable prices to support your local community college is a great excuse to go out for lunch.”

In addition to renovating two kitchens and the restaurant banquet space, the college will provide food service at the golf course snack shop during golf season May 1 through Oct. 31. This will make the 18-holes at Brae Loch even more enjoyable for local golfers.

CLC will pay LCFP $1 per month to use the space. Since the restaurant and banquet facility have not been in use for ten years, a culinary program taskforce determined an initial $1.5 million to renovate the Brae Loch facility. The work will expand the existing kitchen into a new functional teaching kitchen, create a large facility and create new faculty offices. Funds will also be used to meet current building codes, including restroom and Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades. The space will also be used for hosting community events and expanding community partnerships.

The college offers associate degrees in hospitality and culinary management and baking and pastry arts with plans to expand hospitality into its own program and add a catering and event management credential.

LCFP is a national leader in conservation, protecting nearly 31,000 acres of natural lands. Created in 1958 as a special purpose unit of government, the LCFP is Lake County’s principal guardian of open space and natural areas, and the second-largest Forest Preserve District in Illinois. LCFP took over the Brae Loch Golf Club in 1985.

About College of Lake County:

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable, high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.