Working Knowledge


Why do students come to COD? A first-rate education delivered by first-rate faculty! Come and meet us, look into our classrooms and labs, step into our offices, and get to know us through sharing a little “Working Knowledge”.

Christopher Thielman CCE, CEC

What is your title or role at COD?
I work in the Culinary and Hospitality department at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL. Since my arrival at the College in 1987, I have taught culinary arts, pastry arts, and garde manger and sanitation classes. Shortly after my tenure, I was given the charge to create the Pastry Arts Program, developing its curriculum and overseeing the installation of a new bakeshop space.

With the desire to expand my students’ interest in international cuisine, I created the French Country Cooking and Wine and Gastronomy Tours, leading groups to France each summer since 2000.

My outreach to the community is reflected in my commitment to giving demonstrations at area high schools, middle schools and libraries and in my continuing involvement with TCD, the Technology Center of DuPage, where I am an advisory committee member. I was honored to be selected as one of the inaugural nominees in TCD’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

Additional responsibilities at the College include working with the Culinary Market, Waterleaf dining room, Wheat café, program re-certifications, curriculum development and International programs. I was the department Coordinator from 2008 to 2013. After assuming the role of Coordinator in 2008, I was also the chairman of the culinary committee which helped shape the decisions in the building of the Culinary and Hospitality Center on the East side of campus.

What is your past experience prior to COD (degrees, past positions, etc.)?
I received my culinary training and Associate’s Degree at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Northeastern Illinois University and my Master’s Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

I joined the American Culinary Federation in 1988, and am currently a member of the Windy City chapter and formerly the Chicago Chefs of Cuisine chapter, where I served as treasurer from 1994-95. My certifications include Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) and Certified Executive Chef (CEC), as well as a certification to teach sanitation in the state of Illinois. Prior to my current employment, I worked in the Chicagoland area as a regional training chef and as Executive Chef at the 4-star restaurant Annabelle’s in Glenview.

What would you like to accomplish with your students?
The main thing I want to accomplish is to give them the skills to be successful in their career. Because then they can choose their own path in life and make their life what they want it to be.

Can you share something personal about yourself (family, pets, hobbies, favorite food, volunteer service, etc.)?
I am an avid golfer and shoot in the 70s somewhat regularly.

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to have dinner with Abraham Lincoln. I believe he lived through and tried to lead a country in one of the most tumultuous times ever. I would love to hear his thoughts.

If you had a day to do anything of your choosing, what would it be?
My idea of an excellent day would be to be in the South of France, making a nice meal with the local products, drinking a nice bottle of wine with my beautiful wife and just sitting talking through the evening. Heaven!

Compiled by: Laurette McGregor, Kathleen Talenco, Jane Vatchev