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Culinary arts program finds new home

Officials say classes may start as early as summer session

Posted: April 10, 2009 1:11 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.
The growing culinary arts program at College of the Canyons found a new home on Town Center Drive in Valencia, giving the college a way to better meet the needs of students, college officials said Thursday.

"We can expand our course offerings to offer a more institution-line professional culinary program," Audrey Green, dean of program development, said.

The college anticipates teaching classes at the new Town Center Drive space during the summer session and eventually the fall semester.

Base rent for the space, located on the southwest corner of Town Center Drive and Circle Drive at Westfield Valencia Town Center, will cost the college $4,000 a month. An additional $1,000 a month for utilities is also expected.

The board approved the 15-month agreement between the college district and Westfield LLC Wednesday.

Board president Joan MacGregor was absent during the meeting and board member Scott Wilk abstained from the vote.

The building, formerly occupied by a series of restaurants, includes a kitchen, dining room, meeting space and bar area.

"The students can have a full experience with this, ranging from kitchen to service to wine pairing," said Mitjl Capet, COC's assistant superintendent/vice president of instruction.

The new facility will be three times the size of the current space at the college, Green said.

The Town Center Drive location will most likely be a temporary spot until a permanent on-campus facility is built, Green added.

The 150 culinary-arts students currently share kitchen space with the college's food-service providers on the Valencia campus.

"It's pretty cramped," Green said.

Having a tight space in which to work prevents the college from offering morning classes and a condensed 8-week culinary arts session, she said.

The college anticipates adding more baking and pastry classes and one-credit classes, like southwestern cooking, for the community.

"We can offer more classes at better times," said professor of culinary arts Cindy Schwanke. "We have our own sense of ownership for these students."

Students enrolled in the culinary arts program earn either a certificate in culinary arts, wine appreciation or baking and pastry, she said.

The program's jump across town comes as the three-year-old culinary arts program has seen an increase in number of students.
"Our classes are always full," Green said. "Just because of space limitations, we haven't been able to expand it."

The location could lead to partnerships with neighboring restaurants and will increase the community college's exposure.


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