New Culinary Arts facility opens at COC Valencia campus

by Brandon Iriarte 0

A new, 12,000-square-foot Culinary Arts facility has opened on COC’s Valencia campus.

The $8.5 million Institute for Culinary Education or iCuE, will host 19 different classes during the spring semester. Classes include Principles of Baking, Knife Skills, Pastry Art, and Wines of California. Approximately 150 students are currently enrolled in the program this semester, but the facility can host up to 400 students according to college officials.

The facility features several kitchens and rooms, including a banquet kitchen, a chocolate room, and an under-construction dining room with a 100-person occupancy.

“I think our students are very excited to pursue their education and training in a professional environment using equipment and processes they will find in the industry,” Chancellor Diane G. Van Hook said.

Construction of the iCuE began in fall 2013, and was funded by both private donations, as well as proceeds from Measure M, a $160 million local bond measure approved by voters in 2006.

The facility was designed by Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects Inc. of Santa Barbara, COC’s master architect. Built in a modern architectural style, the facility matches the simplicity of the reflective glass surfaces found on nearby structures, which echoes the sophistication of fine dining experiences. Klassen Corp. served as the general contractor.

The iCuE fills a critical need in meeting the demands of the industry, college officials said, noting that the restaurant and food service industry is the largest private employer in the United States.

The iCuE offers significant savings to students searching for a high-quality culinary education, providing training comparable to private programs that cost up to $50,000 or more. By comparison, costs at COC with enrollment fees of $46 dollars per unit, can range from $2,000 to $5,000.

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