Pamplin Media Group – culinary faculty teaches greater than culinary artwork


With state-of-the-art facilities and extensive industry knowledge, the Cascade Culinary Institute at COCC prepares students for a future in the food industry

Cinnamon Crandall remembers the first time someone called her “cook” – a moving moment for the Central Oregon Community College student who was participating in a local food competition at the time. “There were top chefs and restaurant owners from Oregon as judges,” she recalls ‘Chef.’ I get goosebumps. “With this encouraging case of mix-ups that spurred her on, Crandall graduated from the COCC’s Cascade Culinary Institute (CCI) last June. She’s already finding her way into the world of food, alongside working with a private one Dessert Chef assists her on cooking classes at Bend’s Old Mill and helps bring a locally made hazel cream to market. “I love what I do and while I have a lot to do I don’t want to give any of it up,” she added. The culinary scene is certainly busy these days. Restaurants are returning after recovering from pandemic closings and limited or changed operations. According to the National Restaurant Association, the food and beverage industry created nearly 194,000 jobs in June, the sixth consecutive month of growth in the Industry and created around one million new jobs in the first half of 2021. The pressure on these jobs Filling leads to higher salaries and signing bonuses, among other things. “The demand is so great,” said Wayne Yeatman, associate professor on the program. “I think we will finally see wages rise and then a better match between wages and demand.” The CCI has a long tradition of introducing culinary careers. Founded in 1994 and moved into a state-of-the-art facility with integrated catering in 2011, the course offers three unique courses. “Culinary as well as baking and pastry are definitely our most popular programs,” explains Assistant Professor Thor Erickson, “followed by hospitality management, which is still in its infancy with its few years, but we are gaining traction.” CCI also offers each of these three specialties a shorter certificate of completion embedded in the degree. Students can focus on sustainable kitchen practices and follow history from farm to table. You can learn the basics of wine and beverage management. There is an education in wedding cake design and artisanal bread-baking that has gained in authenticity after Assistant Professor Laura Hagen, a certified pastry chef, returned from a summer of baking with experts in the French countryside. A butcher’s course puts big blades into action. The coursework is as specific as chocolate sculptures and Caribbean dishes. In addition to inspiring, experienced teachers and modern facilities, students have a bespoke food truck, bakery kiosk to bake and sell, herb and vegetable garden, and a travel exchange program to Italy and Denmark among their extensive educational resources.

Last year, the program was exemplary accredited in all baking and cooking programs by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission – the only culinary school in Oregon to receive this award – for its high level of education and breadth of learning. The prestigious ranking comes at a time when cooking schools across the country are facing falling enrollments and even closed doors, from the Oregon Culinary Institute to the International Culinary Center in New York because they have been told they don’t have to go to a cooking school because of the Koch can teach them more than cooking school, “said Crandall.” That’s not true. Our cooking teachers stand right next to us in the classroom every day and lead us. “We learn all cooking techniques, try our dishes and give each other feedback, we learn cooking math, shopping, menu composition, hospitality and much more. We don’t have time to run a restaurant . ” Graduates work in various locations, from Le Cirque in Las Vegas and Bos Taurus in Bend to food services for Facebook in Prineville. Some have opened their own food trucks. It’s a career that involves a lot more than just cooking, explains Assistant Professor Erickson. “Culinary arts are that perfect combination of math, science, art, literature, history and human behavior,” he sums up. For more information about the Cascade Culinary Institute, visit or call 541-318-3780.

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