Wine Country Culinary Institute

Wine Country Culinary Institute

Wine Country Culinary Institute

I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Dan Thiessen has been the Director of the newly branded Wine Country Culinary Institute at Walla Walla Community College for the last year and a half. In that time the culinary program has evolved greatly, completely changing the curriculum.

THIESSEN: We’ve overhauled just about every part of this program we could think of. We’ve integrated a new class into our program called “Food, Farmers, and Culture”. It’s a combination of a couple of the older classes that I thought just fit better into this one class. So now, in the winter and summer quarters, we have - twice a week our students are meeting local farmers and they’re doing tours, and they’re also working in our greenhouse.

Thiessen talks about a few of the other new projects students are involved in.

THIESSEN: We’ve incorporated a vermicomposting program into the school here so all of our food waste from the cafe and catering and construction goes right into the vermicomposting program. So we’re making our own compost. We’ve built some raised beds along the property as well, so we’ll be able to go from the greenhouse into these raised beds with some products.

Thiessen shares one goal he sees for the program in the future.

THIESSEN: Down the road I would love to see us be known as the place to go to, for example, for your heirloom tomato starters. And we do some research on maybe three varieties of heirloom tomatoes that do really well here, and we get the students - basically right about now, start them out from seedlings and get them up to starters and then sell them to the public for a fundraising program for the culinary students. I’d love to do a variety of other things, but I want there to be one or two products that really, if you want the best in the valley, you’ve got to go to the Community College and grab them in the springtime because the culinary students are producing the best, so to speak.

Thiessen will be back on Monday to talk more about the Wine Country Culinary Institute and what makes it stand out from the culinary education competition.


I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network. 

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