Culinary Class Gets Chopping Block For Now

Brook Francis, Reporter

Behind the locked doors of room 14 sit several cold ovens and enough kitchen equipment to run a restaurant. It used to be a place where hundreds of students learned to cook and prepare menus. They catered events for students and staff. Some went on to careers in the restaurant and hospitality industries.
The Culver City Fire Department closed the Culinary Arts class at the end of the 2014 school year due to the improper and unsafe ventilation system, according to Lisa Michel, Asst. Principal of Guidance and Curriculum.
“There were many occasions when the room would set off the alarms, as the ventilation system had not been appropriate for the room,” Michel said. “The last time the fire department came when an alarm was set off in Spring 2014, they closed the program down.”
The program will reopen. However, there is no timeline yet, according to Michel.
Renovation of  the classroom is on the list of projects to improve the CCUSD schools under Measure CC, a $106 million bond that Culver City residents passed two years ago.

“The district hasn’t started the plans for the re-model,” Michel said. “When the bond passed last year, many other projects took priority over the culinary project. Hopefully, we will find out where it falls on the priority list some time this year.”
Culinary Arts was a very successful program during its more than 12-year run, according to CCHS Career Technician Marion Serra.  Nearly 175 CCHS students took the Culinary Arts class each semester. Adding to that number, both CCHS and Culver Park students attended the seventh period Culinary Arts class twice a week, according to Serra.
“The course trained students for jobs in culinary arts, catering, and restaurant and retail food service occupations,” Serra said.
Several CCHS students were recognized for their achievement in local culinary competitions. “CCUSD is proud to have one gold medalist and one silver medalist in [the Los Angeles County ROP/CTE Student of the Year Competition],” Serra said.