Culinary arts classes will begin this fall in Durango as the result of a collaboration between Manna Soup Kitchen and Southwest Colorado Community College (SCCC).
Kathy Tonnessen, executive director of Manna, and Norm Jones, executive dean for SCCC, worked together to design a curriculum which will be available to Manna clients as well as community members. The 16-credit certificate will cover beginning production and baking at the new Manna Training and Resource Center building at 1100 Avenida del Sol, which has a fully equipped commercial kitchen. Those completing all the classes will earn a college certificate in beginning production and baking from SCCC. Students will be eligible for financial aid, and will gain workplace skills to work in cooking, baking, dining room management, bar and lounge management, and institutional food service supervision.
"Manna is so excited to have an opportunity to provide a place and a method for our clients to learn job and life skills. Our hope is that this program will help people attain quality jobs and thus move towards self-sustainability. In addition, working with SCCC to provide a quality program makes perfect sense...they have the experience we need to ensure success," said Tonnessen.
"SCCC is pleased to partner with Manna in this most important educational initiative. Our mission is to transform the lives of our students by preparing each with marketable employment skills for jobs in our community. We are fortunate to have an organization like Manna in Durango," Jones said.
Classes will start Aug. 18, and run Monday through Friday from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2 p.m. for 16 weeks. The academic program will meet the requirements of the accreditation by the American Culinary Federation.
Classes will include: food safety and sanitation, Introduction to Food Production Principles and Practices, Introduction to Stocks Soups, and Sauces, Introduction to Garde Manger, Vegetable Preparation and Breakfast Cookery, Baking Principles and Ingredients, Basic Yeast-Raised Products and Quick Breads, Baking Cakes, Pies, Pastries, and Cookies; Baking Applications; Introduction to Management in the Hospitality Industry; Business Ethics and Values; Time Management; and Problem Solving.
A community survey commissioned by Manna Soup Kitchen last year found demand and interest in the culinary arts program, and found there would be jobs for graduates, as well as community support.
"There are many low income, unemployed or underemployed adults who have experienced barriers to employment such as addiction, incarceration and homelessness, who are struggling to break out of poverty and who are eager for just this type of opportunity, and that the community is ready and willing to assist them and to embrace the project," the survey found.
Applicants to the culinary arts program will need to have a high school diploma or GED. Applications are now being accepted at SCCC, 701 Camino del Rio, Durango. Financial aid processes will also be explained. Information is also available by calling SCCC at (970) 247-2929, ext. 7211. The program will be offered every fall and spring, but class sizes will be limited to ensure quality instruction.