COCC Cascade Culinary Institute Wins Award for Sustainability


The Cascade Culinary Institute at Central Oregon Community College received this year’s CAFÉ/Kendall College Green Award for exemplary practices in – and innovative teaching of – ecological sustainability. CCI’s Jungers Culinary Center, which opened in late 2011, was built to Earth Advantage gold-certification standards. Successful management of day-to-day operations includes composting, recycling and use of green chemicals for ware washing. HSW Builders was the contractor and Yost Grube Hall and Pinnacle were the architectural firms.

Additionally, CCI’s public restaurant and student training lab, Elevation, focuses on locally sourced produce, proteins, cheeses and grains. “Even more impressive is the institute’s creation of one of the nation’s first culinary arts certificates in sustainable food systems,” said Christopher Koetke, vice president of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and the Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts, who oversaw evaluation of award entries.

“Students earning the certificate learn current industry standards of sustainable restaurant practices via a pioneering curriculum that includes applied growing and raising of farm plants and animals, applied harvesting and food preservation principles, farm-to-table and sustainable cuisine practices, and even a 200-hour internship in farming and regional agriculture.”

According to Gene Fritz, director and executive chef of CCI, the new Sustainable Food Systems for Culinary Arts Certificate delivers instruction that directly relates to the theoretical aspects of sustainability within the restaurant industry and beyond. Through the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Sustainability Education Program, students gain critical understanding of energy conservation and operation assessment with the objective of positively influencing practices throughout their careers in food service.

“The overarching goal of this unique certificate is to educate future culinarians who will serve as both industry leaders and innovators in sustainability from a food sourcing and operational perspective, while cultivating future chefs who are committed to environmental stewardship with positive economic outcomes,” Fritz said.

As 2013 recipient of the Green Award, CCI received a cash prize of $1,000. The annual CAFÉ/Kendall College Green Award, sponsored by Kendall College, is the first national award to recognize secondary and postsecondary culinary-arts and baking/pastry programs for their commitment to sustainability and teaching its tenets. The objective of the award is to build the body of sustainability resources in foods service education. Selection criteria are based on the integration of sustainability into educational programs and/or operations.


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

Leave A Reply