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Culinary Arts program receives largest gift in program history

6 Butler Culinary Arts students (pre-COVID-19 photo)
Published: Monday, April 5th, 2021

Two local benefactors make significant contributions to Butler Culinary Arts

The Culinary Arts program at Butler Community College is moving forward with what some are calling “Culinary 2.0.”  Scott Redler, co-founder and COO of the fast-casual restaurant franchise, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, and wife Betsy announced Thursday, that they and Vantage Point Properties, Inc. are making significant donations to the Butler Community College Foundation to support the growth and expansion of Butler’s award-winning Culinary Arts program.

The cash and land gifts prepare Butler’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs to make significant enhancements. The result will be a brand-new teaching and entertaining facility in Andover’s hottest development area on Kellogg. The building will serve as a state-of-the-art training facility for the Culinary and Hospitality program while providing students the opportunity to showcase their unique cuisines to the public.

The vision is the brainchild of Scott Redler, who currently sits on the board for the National Restaurant Association.

“I’ve been thinking about this for some time,” said Redler. “I think this venue will bring a lot of excitement to the Andover area not only as a food and hospitality venue, but also will provide a state-of-the-art training facility for Butler’s outstanding Culinary and Hospitality program. I’ve been a part of the Butler program for over 25 years. It’s a dynamic program and they have accomplished a great deal with the facilities they’ve had. Now we are ready for a facility and teaching team that will make the program known in the Midwest for culinary and hospitality excellence.”

The vision and timing fit well with the City of Andover’s current economic development plans for the area on Kellogg near the Dillons Marketplace. Paul Jackson, President of Vantage Point Properties, also got excited about the vision. 

“With Scott and Betsy’s generous lead gift to kick this off, we are thrilled to participate and do our part to help move it forward,” said Jackson. “I want to see our community build on its culinary legacy, and I believe Scott’s vision and leadership, combined with Butler’s award-winning programming goes a long way to achieve that.”

The City of Andover is pleased the Redlers and Vantage Point Properties are bringing the vision to Andover Marketplace.

“I appreciate the partnership of the college in serving our Andover citizens. They've done a lot of work at the north end of Andover with their 5000 Building remodel,” said Andover Mayor Ronnie Price. “With these gifts and vision, the south side of Andover can be the permanent home for this new Culinary and Hospitality facility. It will fit nicely as an evening venue for the community and that's a win-win for everyone.” 

Butler President Dr. Kim Krull noted the Redlers are longtime supporters of the college giving their time, talents and treasures as Scott serves on the Culinary Advisory Committee and Betsy serves on the College’s Foundation Board of Directors. In addition, the Redlers endowed the Betsy and Scott Redler Hospitality scholarship three years ago for Butler’s hospitality students. 

Over the years, Redler has presented many times to Butler’s Culinary students and has hired students into the Freddy’s organization. He’s thrilled to see Butler alum Chris Williams now managing one of the highest volume Freddy’s in the country at Maple and Ridge in Wichita, and former student Curtis Beat working as a Freddy’s Franchisee. 

Williams was a college graduate, a husband and a father when he entered Butler’s program. He enrolled and graduated with certificates in both Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts.

“The staff was great, and I learned a lot ... I’ve always felt that family connection with Butler,” said Williams. “I’ve never felt so close to instructors ever and it’s unique things like that which kept me going especially when I had so much going on. They made me feel comfortable and that made me want to show them what I could do.”

Williams was introduced to Redler during his first year at Butler and that started a connection. “I immediately liked his personality and we talked about the program and the industry,” said Williams. That connection led to Williams joining the Freddy’s team as a supervisor while he was still in school. In nine months, he was promoted to manager. He’s now general manager.

Williams could sense the ‘family feel’ and support was also alive inside the Freddy’s organization.

“I love it. Freddy’s is built on love and family and you feel that from the corporate team. Scott and Betsy have been nothing but great in supporting me. Butler sent me on my way to where I am, even if I didn’t know what all to expect.”

It’s those life changing opportunities that spur the Redlers to serve their community. Scott Redler is also involved with the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Board, and he and Betsy both serve on multiple boards in the Wichita area.

“Scott and Betsy both understand the value of the culinary program at Butler and recognize its importance to the community and our students,” said Krull. “Vantage Point Properties has been visiting with us for a couple of years regarding the possibility of a permanent home for our Culinary program. The stars aligned when these two sat down and decided to make it happen. We are so grateful for their generosity and for their support of our students.”

“The Foundation is excited to work with the Redlers and Vantage Point Properties, Inc to construct an exceptional facility in Andover,” said Tom Borrego, Vice President of Advancement of the Butler Community College Foundation. “We are ready to raise the necessary funds to create a brand-new facility for our Culinary and Hospitality Management Programs.”