Culinary Arts Faculty
Chef Associate Professor Michael Hoppe had worked in the foodservice industry for 23 years prior to teaching at Iowa Western Community College. In 1983, while going to high school, Michael started out at Truck Haven in Council Bluffs washing dishes. Soon afterwards, Michael started at the 64 Club learning how to cook. Since then, Michael has worked in many different restaurants, hotels, health care, and foodservice management contracted firms. Michael even owned and operated his own ice sculpturing business for a time.
Michael went back to school from 1995 -1997 to get his Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary, Hospitality, and Restaurant Management from Iowa Western Community College.
In 2005, Michael returned to school, and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management form Bellevue University in 2007.
While attending Iowa Western Community College Michael was asked by one of his instructors, Bill Leeder, if he would consider becoming a lab assistant in the future.
In 2003, Michael was hired by Iowa Western Community College as a lab assistant. In 2006 he became a full time instructor and has received many promotions throughout his career at Iowa Western Community College. He is currently an Associate Professor, as well as the Program Chair of the Culinary Arts Department.
Michael enjoys working with the students and sharing his experiences, as well as teaching students what he has learned throughout the years.
Chef Instructor Gene Cammarota has been in the culinary industry for 34 years. After cooking with and for his family he began his professional career in 1982 at The Las Vegas Hilton, starting as a pot washer and eventually working his way to Banquets and Saucier in the Main Kitchen.
Gene followed his then chef, Ives Menez to San Diego and became Sous Chef of 2 restaurants.
In 1987 Gene graduated from The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco with extreme honors and became a Banquet Chef for The Pebble Beach Company.
After working as Assistant Executive Chef at The Grand Champions Club in Aspen, Colorado, Gene and his wife Julie moved to Omaha to run Dingle Bay Oyster Bar, which they later purchased and started The Brass Grille.
After nine years they sold that and opened Come on into my Kitchen, an intimate spot that featured private parties and cooking classes as well as lunch, brunch and dinner service.
Since starting to teach in the area, Gene has remained active in the restaurant community locally and travels in the summer to work in California. He is French Classically trained, and enjoys sharing his techniques and experiences with students in many areas of food preparation, presentation, restaurant management and multimedia.
Chef Instructor Karen Hander had worked in higher management for twenty-one years before changing her career. In 2007 she decided to go back to school to pursue her love for food. This journey took her to Le Cordon Bleu in Mendota Heights, Minnesota where she earned her Associates Degree in Applied Science. For her internship she went to Paris, France and worked under two Chefs. One of the two Chefs spent there summers on the western coast in Val Andre, France running a four star restaurant and hotel owned by the French Government. She was asked to go with this Chef and be his Sous Chef, which she went. This extended her stay for nine months. During which she was able to refine her Classic French Culinary and Baking skills.
While in school in Minneapolis she and three of her fellow classmates began a Catering company that catered any request that Le Cordon Blue received. Also during that time she was very involved with student government and served as President of her Class for two years. Being a ACF member she also competed on the ACF Competition Team for two years winning all the way to State level. She is a Certified Culinarian with American Culinary Federation.