The College of the Canyons needs money to boost their iCuE, not their intelligence quotient, but iCuE – which stands for the Institute for Culinary Education.
The instructional program has been in existence since 2006, but has had difficulty finding a permanent home.
COC Foundation Chief Development Officer Murray Wood calls iCuE’s tenure “nomadic.”
“Right now, we’re in what was a restaurant that closed up in Castaic. We’re now using that as the training site, but again that has limitations in as much as we’re renting facilities that may not be available next year or the year after, whatever,” Wood said.
In order to provide a permanent home, the COC Foundation is seeking to build a $6.7 million dollar facility. The good news is that they have a $3 million dollar head start by reallocating left over Measure M funds. The money came available after library extension expenses came in $3 million dollars under budget.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inbox
The vision for the new iCuE building includes a 9,000 to 12,000 state-of-the-art teaching facility, located at the hub of the Valencia campus and features a Show Kitchen, Savory Kitchen, Sweets Kitchen, Banquet Kitchen, wine studies classroom, a dining room that will seat nearly 100 people and culinary lab space.
Donations ranging from $1 million to $1,500 will enable donors to be “appropriately recognized through naming.”
Wood says going to the public for funding is not unusual. A similar route was taken for the University Center.
“There were a certain amount of funds that came from the State of California, that came from bonds, but there was probably about 10 or 12 million that came from private sources, individuals, foundations, and corporations who wanted to help fulfill the promise of what this building is now,” said Wood.
An investment in iCuE, Wood believes, is really an investment in the community.
“First, it enhances the ability for people in the community to find meaningful employment opportunities. It also helps local restaurants, and most of them we’re talking about are small business that owner-managed, so we’re helping small business by providing them with a trained work force in terms of what they need for their future to survive,” Wood said.
And the time is right for a growing culinary arts school.
“Look at the success of food television and the interest and ratings it gets. And look at the success of this trend of the food trucks. People are always fascinated by food,” said Wood.
As with any educational program at COC, Wood says it’s really about the students.
“The bottom line for everything we do at the college is really to help our students find their path in life and there is a tremendous growing need for people in the food industry. And so our commitment is to train more and more students to fill those positions and make a better life for themselves at the same time,” Wood said.
For more information on iCuE and making a contribution, click here.