Culinary Wine Institute courses win awards
Ryan Summerlin July 8, 2014
When Kirsten Fox founded the Park City Culinary Wine Institute (CWI) in the fall of 2012, she wanted to engage, enlighten and empower restaurant servers.
Fox envisioned online sales and education courses that would help them learn how to pair wines with food and how to serve wine.
She didn’t found the institute in hopes of winning awards.
But it did.
Earlier this year, CWI won a gold medal by the Aurora Awards, which internationally recognizes excellence in non-entertainment film and video for its four-part "Foundations in Wine — Level One" course.
A few weeks ago, the CWI course received two more awards — a silver from Creativity International Awards for design, usability, and execution in media — and gold from the Omni Intermedia Awards for creating a production that engages, empowers and enlightens its viewers.
The course centers on four wine segments, each delivering key concepts for servers in restaurants.
Each segment is delivered via self-paced, online, video training that incorporates graphics, audio, pop-up quiz questions and focused exams.
Fox said she is thrilled with these awards.
"It was so powerful to me to find that we were able to hold up a silver in the Creativity International Awards because it recognized design, usability and also the execution in the media," she said. "But the one that really means the most to me, truthfully, is the Omni Intermedia Award."
The reason is because the award recognizes media that "engages, empowers and enlightens."
"That is the exact definition of what we’re trying to do," Fox said.
The gold award reminded Fox of a story she heard from a server who waits on tables at the Union Grill in Ogden.
"All of their servers have been through our program and are silver certified so I initially called her for an interview on behalf of another press release I was writing," Fox remembered. "I found she runs a day care out of her home during the day, and waits on tables at night."
The server told Fox that she has worked at the Union Grill for 15 years and she doesn’t drink wine.
"So anytime someone would ask her for a wine recommendation, she would get another person to help them," Fox said. "Then she took our course."
One night, the server had three tourists who asked for a wine suggestion.
"She looked at what they ordered and made suggestions based on the course," Fox said. "She also knew how to serve the wine and did it correctly."
The customers liked the wine so much that they bought an additional bottle.
"They also liked her service and give her double what she usually makes in tips," Fox said. "She told me that that was her water bill for the month.
"Giving her, someone who is trying to pay her bills, a confident way to enhance her job is power," Fox said. "It’s a way for her to gain self-confidence and make better money and this award crystallized why we are doing what we are doing."
Fox is grateful for the Culinary Wine Institute’s partner Market Vision Media for submitting the videos for the awards.
"Market Vision Media, which is based in Northern Utah, felt the production value and creativity we showed in the media would hold up in competition," Fox said.
Market Vision Media owner Ryan Black submitted the course to the competitions because of the success it is having, both in the restaurant industry and within the media community.
"We were excited to see where we could take this," he said.
Fox said she is planning to add to the CWI online courses.
"Once we get some traction, we will develop level two and level three," she said. "Subsequent to that we’ll start specific courses for Italian restaurants, steak houses, American Casual and Asian restaurants.
"When a server goes through the program, they receive resources which help them, including PDF files that are the right sizes for check holders that have a list of wine pairing ideas," Fox said. "It’s a super easy number system that helps the server suggest wines to go with the food ordered."
All the courses aren’t for sommelier levels, Fox clarified.
"We just want to help servers get better at their jobs and make more money," she said. "They face a breadth of wines that may not be covered in our basic classes."
For more information about the Omni Intermedia Awards visit www.omniawards.com . For more Creativity International Awards, visit www.creativityawards.com . For more information about Market Vision Media: www.marketvisionmedia.com , and visit www.culinarywineinstitute.com for more information about the Park City Culinary Wine Institute.