CANNON BEACH —This coastal community is well known by the public as a top tourist attraction, but also known to many Christians as a place of learning and renewal, thanks to Cannon Beach Conference Center and the Ecola Bible School also housed at the center.
Now, because of a third ministry newly arrived here, Cannon Beach also could become widely known as a center for the culinary arts.
The Christian Culinary Academy, located at the conference center, is enrolling for the 2013-14 school year, its second academic year. Class sessions begin Oct. 7.
“The first class was kept small on purpose in order to perfect the curriculum, but this year we expect to welcome a full class of 18 students,” said Ira Krizo, academy founder who also founded Christian Chefs International (www.christianchefs.org).
The vision for the school came more than a decade ago for Krizo, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., when he was impressed by a need for a high-quality culinary school with a Christian mindset. In 2012, after obtaining a 501(c)3 status from the IRS, and a career-school license from the Oregon Department of Education, the first students began their studies at the academy.
“In May 2013, our first students graduated and they are currently finishing their education with an internship in the locations of their choice,” said Krizo.
Krizo has worked in the culinary arts since 1995, mostly in fine dining in France, Australia, Virginia, Colorado, Arizona, Southern California and Oregon. He has also owned his own fine dining restaurant and a bed and breakfast with his wife, Susanna.
Krizo started Christian Chefs International (CCI) in 1998. Originally called Christian Chefs Fellowship, CCI started as an Internet support group for Christian chefs worldwide. From the humble beginnings of a message board and a free job listing online, the ministry has grown to include an annual conference, local groups, and the culinary school. The ministry can still be found online and on Facebook, and the popular job listing is still free for both employees and employers.
CCI’s fifth annual conference for Christian chefs and cooks, and their spouses, will be held at Cannon Beach Conference Center March 23-27. Prospective CCA students and their parents are also welcomed to attend.
Goal of the culinary academy is to give students the experience and knowledge needed to enter the food-service industry with confidence. During the first eight months of the program, students receive extensive hands-on experience, and learn the theory of cooking in classroom kitchens. Students also participate in field trips, biblical training on how to be effective witnesses, and real-life experience in working kitchens. During the second part of their education, students work a 12-week internship under an experienced chef . At the completion of the program, students receive their certificate in culinary arts.
Students spend 24 hours per week in the classroom and classroom kitchens, four hours per week in morning devotions, two hours per week in Bible study, seven hours per week in mini-internships (practical culinary experience in working kitchens), and five hours per week in practical ministry work with the conference center, in addition to field-trips to restaurants and purveyors. This works out to be a 42-hour per week of school work in addition to homework. “The intensity of the program provides each student in one year what would normally be taught in a two-year culinary program,” said Krizo.
The cost of the program is about half that of a similar one-year culinary program. This is accomplished through a partnership with the conference center and volunteer instructors.
“Lower overhead lowers the tuition, but not the standard. All our instructors are highly trained professionals, and our host facility provides dormitories, a private kitchen for the sole use of the academy, recreational facilities for the students, and the inviting town of Cannon Beach,” said Krizo.
One of the main focuses of the interdenominational academy is discipleship and character building. Due to the intensive nature of the program, students spend a lot of time with instructors, providing opportunities for one-on-one discipleship with Christian chefs who know what it takes to succeed in the industry. “Our theology class focuses on character building, such as humility, discipline, and integrity,” said Krizo.
Joining Krizo as chefs and instructors are Jay Gillett and Jim Krieg. Gillett is a 1994 graduate of Paul Smith College’s culinary arts program in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. He has been an executive chef at numerous places in western New York and North Carolina, including fine dining, stadium, and institutional. Krieg is a baking and pastry chef. He has a master’s certificate from Canyonview Bible Seminary in Silverton, where he remained after his studies as a New Testament Greek teacher. He also was active in the Christian ministry of Canyonview Camp there for 15 years. Krieg taught baking and pastry at Western Culinary Institute (now Le Cordon Bleu College) in Portland for 12 years and was its instructor of the year in 1999. He is presently the executive director of Canyonview Ministries in Silverton.
Theology instructor is Susanna Krizo. She is a published Christian philosopher, and owner of a gourmet natural foods manufacturing business.
Serving on the academy’s advisory board are famed TV chef, author and lecturer, “Galloping Gourmet” Graham Kerr; Karl Guggenmos, dean of culinary education at Florida-based Johnson & Wales University; and Bob Vannigan, executive chef and cookbook author. Guggenmos and Kerr are also guest instructors at the academy.
For more information, contact Krizo at 503-794-4083 or email@example.com, or go to www.christianchefs.org.