Clark’s Foodie Future

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Dramatic overhaul of Culinary program recommended

Last fall, a Culinary Arts Taskforce formed to work on two things: revamping the Food program within Culinary Arts and improving food-service options on the main campus.

The taskforce released its findings and they found a need for dramatic changes, not just in the program and the college’s dining options, but in the look and shape of the campus.

In order to stay current with modern culinary trends, the taskforce found, students require enhanced instructional time to develop skills and learn about new tools and technology, theories, dietary restrictions and global cuisine.

However, the program is also responsible for most of the food production at the college, but food service is limited to class hours, which leaves little time for purely instructional lab activities and skills development. Furthermore, students and employees often eat at times outside of class hours.

One solution is to bring in local vendors, in a limited capacity, to augment food service for the campus community. Meanwhile, Culinary Arts students will take part in rigorous academics and updated lab activities—while still gaining hands-on experience by providing some food service to the college.

The program will move to a cohort model and be designed to qualify for accreditation by the American Culinary Federation.

In order to accomplish all this, however, the facility needs a facelift. Students need access to SMART classrooms and a demonstration kitchen (currently the program has neither) to learn the new curriculum, and outside vendors require a larger, more inviting space in which to set up shop.

The taskforce recommended adding a second story to the northwest corner of Gaiser Hall and remodeling the first-floor section to house a modern food court with different cook-to-order kiosks, a new bakery area and modern dining room. Second floor ideas include SMART classrooms, offices and other facilities.

“A renovation, while costly, is an investment in the program, an investment in student retention and an investment in the goals of the strategic plan,” the taskforce’s final proposal concludes. “The creation of an inviting space for students, faculty and staff to congregate as members of a community will serve Clark College for decades to come.”

The next step will be a pre-design study to accurately budget for the renovations. Thereafter, the fundraising process will begin. Meanwhile, the Food program within Culinary Arts is not accepting new students.

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