Mark Hitri is an instructor and curriculum adviser at the Culinary School of Fort Worth in Texas. He spoke recently about how the culinary industry is evolving, and how he views his role in staying current with the new trends by creating cutting-edge menus and food programs.

Hitri’s began his career path at a very different level, working at Dairy Queen and saving funds to buy a bass guitar to attain his rock star dreams. He eventually realized that he wasn’t destined for limos and sold out stadiums, so he turned to the kitchen over 25 years ago.

With his experience, Mark has a keen eye on future trends in the culinary business. For example, he explained that “Middle eastern cuisine is making some inroads, and the plant movement is growing.” The latter refers to the trend toward increasing the use of fresh fruits, beans, and vegetables in menus.

Looking to the future, Hitri is very focused on the evolution of his business and his role in that process. He is clear in his intentions in “developing professional cooks that will influence the industry with a heightened level of respect and technical abilities.” He feels that, further on the horizon, as “demand for quality grows, demand for talent will increase, and the hope is that compensation will grow as well.”

It’s obvious that the Culinary School of Fort Worth is fortunate to have an instructor with Hitri’s experience and creative abilities in the kitchen. In addition to having those skills, however, he also possesses visionary insights regarding the business and the best approaches to career development for his fellow culinary artists.