It’s really exciting to find a community college that offers a top-of-the-line curriculum in the culinary arts. In 2001, the Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, Oregon, realized they had two windows of opportunity for starting a successful culinary program. First, there were no other culinary programs in the area, and secondly, the Oregon coast itself with its unlimited recreational opportunities.
Fast Growth and Expansion
Within two years of its inception, however, the on-campus facility was already inadequate in meeting the demand for more students and kitchen classrooms. Thus, the college built a new state-of-the-art facility. Completed in 2005, the new building is now home to Oregon Coast Culinary Institute.
Impressively large at 17,000 square feet, the building includes three complete professional teaching kitchens, three classrooms, a library, a huge open area for banquets, and a demonstration kitchen for special events.
Included also in each teaching facility are video, audio, internet, and television hook-ups. Each kitchen can accommodate up to 20 students and boast industry standard equipment for hands-on learning. The college now can accommodate up to 150 students.
Fully accredited by regional authorities, the 15-month program offers graduating students a choice of two degrees: Culinary Arts Associate of Applied Science, or, Baking and Pastry Arts Associate of Applied Science. During the first twelve months students receive formal instruction on the campus and the remaining three months are conducted in a professional kitchen setting elsewhere.
Housing and Tuition
Another great plus for incoming students is the low cost of the program compared to other culinary schools. The fee for the entire program is fixed at $24,000. This fee includes the student’s chef uniform, a top quality knife kit, all food for their classes, books, and all class fees. There are no surprise hidden charges. The campus also provides apartment-style housing for incoming students. First-year students are required to live on campus unless they meet the exception criteria. The housing units, available on a first-come, first-served basis, are typically 4-bedroom, 2-bath, with kitchen, living and dining room, accommodating up to eight students in each unit. Included with the apartments are satellite TV, internet, local phone, and a variety of meal plans.
Not to be forgotten, recreational opportunities abound along the Oregon coast and inland where the majestic Cascade Mountains pass through Central Oregon. Students can fish, hike, ski, bicycle, go boating, crabbing, sailing, golfing, and much more, as well as participate in on-campus sports.