Famous, well-trained chefs gain their experience in several ways, and one of them is in attending culinary school. The Seattle Culinary Academy is recognized academic program producing culinarians who have a wide range of cooking talents to offer future employers. The best part of being in a city that boasts more than one well-done culinary program is that you get to eat at some of their restaurants in order to give their students experience in front of house and back of house management and service.
The Seattle Culinary Academy’s top notch chef instructors receive awards and recognition for their hard work. Among them, there are notable instructors whose own careers have continued to develop while also training new chefs. Chef Gregg Shiosaki, the first quarter chef instructor is one of the American delegates to the 2010 Terra Madre, the international slow food conference, in Torino, Italy. Chef Karen Jurgensen teaches sustainability courses in addition to practicum courses for upper division students. She restarted the Chef’s Collaborative and actively works in sustainability education, even publishing a book called Rethinking the Kitchen. Actually, the sustainability element of the program is one factor for tipping me towards SCCC.
Chef Sarah Wong brings experience in a wide variety of education and culinary expertise, and she teaches several upper division courses, including a wine course and meat fabrication. Chef Keijiro Miyata guides the second-quarter students in their meal preparation for the rest of the program’s students, and he brings expertise in gourmet and Japanese cuisine. The meals they produce are amazing, and I haven’t packed a lunch since the first week of school!
Not to be ignored, the pastry department and culinary support staff are significant and extremely talented. Pastry Chefs Regis Bernard and James Martin provide oversight for baked treasures that fly off the shelves when students start learning about the incredible offerings given at such low costs. Have you ever seen a 75-cent Madeline cookie?
The Seattle Culinary Academy team also includes Cynthia Wilson, a registered dietitian who brings years of education experience and real world nutrition and culinary work. The unique relationship between nutrition experts and culinarians is encouraged and developed at SCA. She and I met last year, when I taught nutrition at SCCC, and I have a great deal of respect for her.
Supporting staff that make sure the program runs, that students are supplied and enrolled, and that funding is provided include Joy Gulmon-Huri, Juli Guinasso, Cindy Cohen, Linda Pal Chauncey, and Lina Tjok. Without these individuals, the fine dining aforementioned would not happen. From giving tours, to assigning lockers, to saving extra locker keys for crazy students, and to making sure we can graduate, Juli and the staff work hard.
Chef Greg Atkinson, known as a food writer as well as accomplished chef, trains students in the Square One Bistro. Here you get to sample high quality bistro food for a fraction of the cost. Don’t let the casual fare and low costs fool you — the flavors are well combined, and the students’ efforts are sincere. For less than $10 you can enjoy a bistro classic, such as the daily braise, and a beverage, and you can still get back to the office on time.
The One World entrees are considerably more formal, as this is the chance for students to learn about fine dining. The customer service side is run by Mr. Tom Dillard, who has spent years developing and implementing curricula at different educational locations. Cooking is taught by Chef Karen Jurgensen.
In addition to the regular meals created by students under the direction of chef educators, the 5th-quarter culinary students are also beginning their capstone cooking projects in which they plan and prepare multi-course meals. Friends and family – and visitors – can taste their menu at the One World restaurant. This is probably the best deal in town. For less than $30, you enjoy a prix fixe menu of some gourmet creations and get a sneak-peak at top chefs in Seattle before they’re “big.”
If you have time to visit the dining rooms of the Seattle Culinary Academy, come hungry and willing to try some of the student chefs’ latest creations. Come see the chefs of the future. Come for gourmet food at training costs.