ICUE is here!
“What is ICUE?” you may be asking.
Well, it is the new College of the Canyons Institute for Culinary Education.
Yes, the Santa Clarita Valley now has its very own culinary institute, where students can get a world-class culinary education at a fraction of the cost of those high-priced private schools out there. The fact is, people tend to get into the food service industry because they are passionate about it, not because they expect huge financial rewards [at least not immediately]. Entry level wages in this industry tend to be low, so not having to start with a mountain of debt is an added plus to gaining an excellent education at ICUE.
The COC Culinary Arts program has actually been around for a while, but never had a permanent home until now, with a beautiful new facility right on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus. Here at Eve’s Wine 101, we are proud to have participated in the fundraising efforts to make this a reality. Recently, we were invited to attend the Culinary Donor Celebration to see firsthand what our efforts had achieved. [Actually, this invitation was extended to Eve and Eddie Bushman and rightfully so. But, they were out of town. Their loss was our gain, and my wife Karen and I gladly stepped in in their stead.]
We started our evening in the school’s dining room, where we first stopped and chatted with local winemakers Steve Lemley and Nate Hasper of Pulchella and sampled the delicious wines they had brought for the guests – my favorite that evening was a Grenache-based blend, but I enjoyed all of them. And, I “enjoyed” them multiple times over the course of the evening.
We listened to COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook as she spoke of how the program had found its home and then we joined her in a toast to christen the new facility.
We were then divided into groups and began our tour of the new building, where we were provided with demonstrations as well as samples. The quality of the instructors and the passion of the students was only matched by the deliciousness of the food we were served – I managed to score a couple extra servings of the duck in order to prove my hypothesis here.
We wrapped up our tour in the Wine Studies room, where Mystic Hills Vineyard’s Judy Cox presided over a tasting of their delicious wines, including my favorite Unforgiven, a classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec.
And of course, we learned a few things. Most important to me was that not only does the program offer three certificates [Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry, and Wines Studies] but they are also going to be holding community workshops for the public, where for a fee you can attend a hands-on or demonstration class. In addition, the dining room is going to open to the public, initially only for lunch.
Wrapping up our evening, it was great to see the support being given to ICUE by so many of the SCV’s luminaries. Our town has much to be proud of.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com