It’s been a thrilling ride for my VP Michael Perlis and me to play a small role in seeing the ICUE open. From learning about the plan, getting to see the plans, hosting some fundraising and just watching it all come together – I can’t compare it to anything else as nothing this big has happened in our wine community, cooking community and the community at large that will benefit the students that will pass through those fine looking doors!
Last Thursday, on April 16, I went to the ribbon cutting. Lot of pals, and plenty of dignitaries in attendance including Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, Campaign Manager Murray Wood, Campaign Chair Diana Cusumano, Chef Cindy Schwanke, Chef Herve Guillard, Chef Daniel Otto, DiMaggio Washington, Vanessa Wilk, Judy Penman, Russ Briley, Sharon Lindquist, Kris Hough, Alison Needham, Cathy Wohlberg Craig, Jill Friedman, Christine Andrews, Matthew Rungaitis, Jay and Shelly Schutz…and many other friend’s names (including yours truly) were found listed in the program as members of the Culinary Arts Campaign Committee and on plaques adorning the classrooms that designated the donors.
Cusumano, Schwanke and Wood thanked everyone for their dedication to the project, as did Dr. Van Hook, who looked thrilled with the gift of a special red chef’s coat given to her as she left the podium. Vanessa Wilk, on behalf of Senator Sharon Runner, had a special certificate to award to the COC Institute for Culinary Education to congratulate them on their grand opening. Then the current students made their way through our tent to hand us small bread rolls, which we were to “break” as the ribbon was cut.
Into the Classrooms
This state-of-the-art culinary learning center that features a demonstration kitchen, savory kitchen, sweets kitchen, banquet kitchen, chocolate room, wine studies classroom, herb garden, faculty offices, retail shop and much more.
After more photos of the ribbon cutting, and one of the new outdoor pizza oven, I went inside the building for a tour. (Story in photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205368655323277.1073741910.1455706632&type=1&l=b449307eae) Entering from either side door, the first thing you will see is a large room, a half circle, set up with red-cushioned chairs and dining tables – for our future dining enjoyment. With the wine room on the left, and the sweets on the right, I was torn as where to start. So I went into the closest classroom, the kitchens, then back for the sweets, and finally into the wine room – where I expect to spend some time of my own in the near future. I especially liked that the wine room had a cellar, a dishwasher, sink and a large counter – everything they could need was there! And some of the students’ chairs had been painted with the ICUE logo – perfect!
It’s all shiny, new and state-of-the-art of course. The students and instructors seemed just as thrilled, if not more so, than the guests taking the tour. We sampled salads, cheeses and sweets to our hearts’ content! And soon it will be to everyone’s!
From the College
The College of the Canyons Institute for Culinary Education (iCuE) serves up a modern, efficient, and accessible educational center where aspiring chefs and sommeliers can learn all aspects of culinary arts and wine studies to the highest possible standards.
The 12,200-square-foot building is a state-of-the-art center featuring a 140-seat dining room, demonstration kitchen, savory and sweets kitchens, classroom, chocolate room, wine studies classroom and lab, retail bake shop and instructor office spaces.
Built in a modern architectural style that matches the simplicity of the reflective glass surfaces found on nearby structures, and that echoes the sophistication of fine dining experiences, the building serves as a venue for both academic instruction and community events.
The College of the Canyons Culinary Arts Program is highly regarded and has been in high demand despite its lack of a permanent, dedicated facility. Since its beginning in 2006, the program has been housed in three separate facilities – the college’s cafeteria, a restaurant space at the Valencia Town Center and, most recently, at leased restaurant space in Castaic.
With the new facility, the program has the space to double enrollment, and expand its breadth of programming.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com