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Southeast Campus, Community Education enjoy new kitchen
By Rebecca Olson and Katherine Miller. Photos by Vern Uyetake.
With a newly renovated space for cooking classes and food preparation, Portland Community College’s Southeast Campus now offers aspiring cooks and seasoned taste-testers alike everything and the kitchen sink!
“PCC currently holds a variety of cooking classes all over the Portland metro area, but the kitchens are often small community kitchens that are not set up for teaching, or learning and are often difficult to schedule across multiple uses and groups,” said Rachael Pecore-Valdez, Home and Garden coordinator for the Community Education Program.
“We are thrilled to have a teaching kitchen on campus and be able to serve more students with delicious opportunities to learn about cuisines from around the world,” she added.
The 1,000-square-foot kitchen adjoins the Community Hall Annex on the Southeast Campus and has been renovated with features designed to enhance cooking instruction.
The new space offers students the use of three stoves, a large refrigerator and separate freezer, warming oven, sinks, dishwasher, ice machine, and stainless steel preparation tables. A large mirror hangs above the prep area to allow for better visibility. Much of the equipment in the kitchen – such as the refrigerator and freezer – is both restaurant-grade and used.
“Most importantly, there is a lot of counter space and a large prep area for students,” Pecore-Valdez said. “There’s enough room for everyone to learn, chop, stir—and eat!”
This fall, the kitchen will come alive with classes in Mexican cooking, Cuban cuisine, European one-pot meals, holiday cookies, Japanese Bento-making, seasonal soups, and others.
The renovation and new equipment were funded by the 2008 voter-approved bond measure. With help from it’s Bond Program, PCC renovated the space with students from the community in mind, selecting high-quality used materials to save costs and repurpose equipment formally used by restaurants for educational purposes.
When community education classes are not in session, the space will be used by PCC’s Food Services to prepare food to cater college and community meals and events.
To find cooking classes in the new learning kitchen, turn visit pcc.edu/communityed.