Marvin Walder/The Broadside
The time is 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and the sounds of preparation can be heard echoing through the Jungers Culinary Institute building. With a variety of fresh ingredients, and a fillet of salmon, Chef Candy Argondizza is equipped and ready to teach her class on poaching (the art of cooking things in a liquid). With the help of Stephanie Goetsch (the program manager for Central Oregon Community College’s Continuing Education program) behind the scenes, the Zoom call went flawlessly, and students were able to see two angles of Chef Argondizza’s preparation and cooking in real time. After two information packed hours, the dish began to take shape. It was a beautiful salmon fillet, topped with a creamy vin blanc sauce and served with a side of wonderfully cooked risotto, filled with cooked squash and covered in a hefty serving of baked mushrooms. It was a sight and smell to behold, and it tasted even better than it looked.
It’s quickly apparent that Chef Argondizza has a rich history of teaching culinary arts, but her history at COCC’s continuing education program began only two years ago.
“I’ve been a chef for 44 years, 17 of which I was a chef instructor and ran the French Culinary Institute in New York City,” Chef Argondizza explained. “Most of my career has been working in restaurants, learning from as many chefs as possible, and then running my own kitchens. In the year 2000, I joined the French Culinary Institute as a chef instructor, which was another facet of my career that I just loved. I love cooking and teaching and interacting with people. Eventually I became the vice president of that culinary school. So those last 17 years in New York City at the school was probably the pinnacle of my career, because I worked alongside so many industry greats.”
Chef Argondizza has an incredible repertoire of culinary teaching that can greatly help anyone improve confidence in their cooking ability, and luckily she’s decided to continue to follow her passion for teaching here in Bend.
“My partner and I moved here three years ago, and love Oregon, love Central Oregon,” she said. “We’ve been visiting to ski and visit friends for over ten years, and decided to move here.”
Chef Argondizza decided to teach culinary skills for the continuing education program at COCC, meaning that her classes are available to the public (you don’t have to be a COCC credit student to sign up).
When asked why she made her decision, she said that “When I realized what an incredible facility and program they have here, I reached out to Chef Thor Erickson. One thing lead to the next, and I began teaching in the continuing education program.”
Chef Argondizza’s classes cover a wide variety of topics, and more information about them can be found here.
Chef Argondizza also mentioned that “I also have my own business called Ingredient Studio where we do in-home private cooking lessons and small events, dinner parties.”
More information about it can be found here.
Chef Argondizza has a hopeful outlook for the future of the culinary program.
“I can’t wait to do more in-person classes here at COCC,” she said. “It’s really great for people to see, touch and smell the food, and having that interaction and the camaraderie of working with other people in the kitchen. I hope that will happen by the summer time, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
No matter if you’re a college kid trying to make something fancier than a frozen pizza, or an experienced chef trying to improve some new skills, Chef Argondizza’s class has something for everyone.