How the culinary department at Central Oregon Community College is functioning throughout the pandemic
Miina McCown/ The Broadside
Food has been a large comfort for many of us before and during the pandemic, whether through baking, cooking with immediate family or simply enjoying a nice comfort meal.
Used by student chefs and guests at Central Oregon Community College, the Cascade Culinary Institute is a state-of-the-art culinary education facility. CCI’s Jungers Culinary Center on the Bend Campus offers the latest kitchen classroom technology, a demo theater, as well as multiple cooking labs where students can get a taste of running a fine-dining establishment.
The CCI is still in operation, with Baking and Pastry Arts (BAK) as well as Culinary Arts (CUL) courses still available for students to take. All BAK and CUL courses have had alterations made to be either in-person/remote, in-person/online or in-person only. While the CCI is not currently open to the public, culinary courses are still available for students and the Jungers Culinary Center is open for students and faculty only.
How have culinary courses continued for aspiring chefs during COVID-19?
Chef Wayne Yeatman, the Associate Professor and Department Chair of Culinary Arts states that the spring term of 2020 started off remotely, with the intention of being able to go back in person at the end of the spring.
“We uploaded all of our lectures and readings, took videos of our demonstrations and taught that way until we realized that we would have to work remotely for much longer. We eventually figured out ways for students to cook at home and evaluated them based on that as best as we could. We waved the fees because they were buying their own ingredients, and that’s how we did it in the spring. Then come this fall, we were allowed to go back to in-person partially. Our classes that are lecture-based are only held remotely or online, and our skills-based classes or our lab classes are either completely in-person or partially in-person where the demonstration component is presented remotely but the actual lab portion is in-person,” he said.
In Jungers Culinary Center, two types of culinary classes are offered; one being credits-based classes going toward a culinary degree and the other being non-credit continuing education courses. The majority of continuing education non-degree based classes are still available remotely or asynchronously over Zoom. The selection of continuing education courses can be viewed here.
Although Elevation, the student-run restaurant had closed for the pandemic, the establishment recently reopened for the winter term to the public.
Yeatman remarked that prior to Kate Brown’s order of no indoor dining, the establishment had intended to only serve the campus community, meaning other students in skills-based programs or the limited number of faculty and staff on campus. After the order changed to where restaurants could no longer offer indoor dining, Elevation decided to operate like all of the other dining establishments in town, offering takeout and outdoor seating only. While due to lack of proper heating, outdoor dining is not available, the Shirley Ray food truck, which is part of Elevation, will be open to the public for pickup orders only starting on January 14th.