Culinary program on chopping block

Culinary students may not be crying when chopping onions. Instead, they could be crying because MCCC’s culinary program might be coming to an end.

“The culinary and foodservice education credit program is under review to determine whether to continue or inactivate, based on student demand and livable wage employment opportunities,” said Grace Yackee, vice president of instruction. “A freshman class was not accepted this year due to low enrollment, and second-year students are on track to finish.”

Culinary student sautées vegetables. (Photo by James Quick)

At the head of the program is chef Kevin Thomas, who is in his 35th year as instructor of culinary arts and foodservice education. 

Year 35 will also be his last, as he said he plans to retire after the completion of the Winter 2022 semester.

“I’m involved in the process with the program being under review,” Thomas said. “They’re obviously asking me my opinion on what to do with the facilities after the program’s done.”

Campus’ culinary facilities will continue to be utilized for lifelong learning classes for the community, Thomas said.

“From the heart, I hate to see the program under review,” he said. “But I kind of understand because the demand for this particular field has declined.”

Final review of the CAFE program will be presented to the Curriculum Committee during its monthly meeting January 2022.

Chef Thomas expects the committee to decide to inactivate the program, but he said that the stars have aligned with his retirement.