Magazine Feature / People

Award-winning culinary educator first called to priesthood

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Angelo Camillo

Angelo Camillo just wasn’t cut out for the priesthood.

“I wanted to pursue religious studies and become a Catholic priest,” Camillo says, “However, my own priest did not think I was a good candidate. Instead, he gave me a letter of recommendation to pursue a degree in hospitality management.”

That priest pointed Camillo on a lifelong journey through the hospitality industry that would lead him from his home in Italy across the world. It would also allow him to influence a new generation of industry leaders. 

An assistant professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) at DU’s Daniels College of Business, Camillo was recently awarded the Chef Herman Breithaupt Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education. 

The award honors the memory of a pioneer in culinary education by recognizing outstanding achievement and contributions to food service education by a chef or educator. 

“There are only a handful PhDs or EdDs with a chef’s background in the world,” Camillo says. “To have been selected … is an emotional feeling.”   

Camillo received an associate degree in accounting and culinary arts from the Italian Hotel School in Sorrento, Italy; a BA and a lifetime teacher’s certificate degree from the School of Hotel Economics in Heidelberg, Germany; an MBA from San Francisco State University; and a PhD in human environmental sciences with a concentration on food and beverage strategic management from Oklahoma State University. He also holds numerous industry certifications. 

Camillo came to the U.S. in 1990 when he was recruited by a Canadian company to manage an existing hotel and to open a new one in Niagara Falls, N.Y. 

He eventually turned his attention to teaching. 

“One can reach a point in life when one cannot be paid what he or she is worth,” says Camillo. “I decided that instead of giving my expertise for free to my past employers and not be appreciated, I would rather transfer my wealth of knowledge to students who will carry my legacy in the future.”

Camillo, who started teaching at DU in 2006, teaches two capstone level courses — Introduction to Hospitality Management, a food and beverage strategic management course, and Entrepreneurship, a special topic course in management and independent studies.

David Corsun, director and associate professor in HRTM, says Camillo is a teacher who clearly conveys to students his passion for education and for the industry.

“His students really connect with him and very much appreciate his experience and his accessibility,” he says. “The Breithaupt award is appropriate for Angelo. His greatest contributions to DU have been made in the classroom.”

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