Archive for Culinary Arts


Culinary Enrollment at 169; College considering adding another section; Hospitality enrolls 24; 14 obtain culinary certificates

Enrollment at the Sedona Center for its new Culinary programs is doing well.  According to Dean James Perey, who updated  the District Governing Board on February 13 about the Verde Campus and Sedona Center, enrollment in culinary courses for the spring semester is at 169 students.  He is considering adding another section in fall 2018 to accommodate the demand for the culinary offerings. 

He noted that 14  high school culinary students recently received their culinary certificates. Those that were already holding  jobs received an immediate increase of from $1 to $2 and hour.

The hospitality program was successfully launched this spring with an initial enrollment of 24 students.  He is working with the Yavapai-Apache Nation that has just completed the large hotel addition in Camp Verde to assess how the College and the Nation can use the facility for training.

Dean Perey’s report to the District Governing Board on February 13 on the culinary and hospital program is on the video clip below.



Fewer than 20 given Level II Chef Rating annually from Culinary Institute of America

Jennifer Jackson, who is considered a lead faculty member at the Yavapai College Culinary Institute of Sedona, recently became one of fewer than 20 people annually to earn a prestigious Level II Chef Rating from the Culinary Institute of America. The Institute is described by some as the world’s premier culinary college.

The rating is bestowed only on students who apply and are accepted to the Institute and who complete four days of rigorous examination and kitchen practice.

Ms. Jackson was professionally trained at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon and is a certified Professional Chef from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York.  Her first endeavor, “Good Things,” was a kitchen gift and antique store in Natchez, Mississippi.  Jennifer also owned and operated Delta Blues Gumbo, which provided her famous gumbo to numerous delicatessens in the Portland, Oregon area. 

She has been teaching cooking classes the past several years in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Sedona.  Most recently she joined Yavapai Community College.  She also taught classes at Sur La Table – Fashion Square/Scottsdale and St. Mary’s Food Bank Community Kitchen. 

You may read more about the award in the online Verde Independent article by clicking here


Perey tells Sedona Counsel he is meeting in December to explore spring 2018 hospitality program with Nation

The culinary program opened at the Sedona Center this fall has got off to a strong start. However, because of low enrollment, the hospitality programs offered on the Verde Campus failed to open in the fall of 2017. During questioning by the Sedona Council, Verde Valley Campus Executive Dean James Perey said that he is meeting with the Yavapai-Apache Nation in December to explore the possibility of using the Nation’s new hotel as a facility to provide real life training in hospitality.

Perey said he has been told by businesses in the area that they are seeking employees who have both culinary and hospitality training. He sees a partnership with the Nation as an answer to the low enrollment in hospitality courses. The hotel offers the possibility of real life clinical training in hospitality management.

You may view his remarks on this topic to the Sedona Council on November 28, 2017 below in a short 60 second clip of the meeting. You may view the entire Sedona Council meeting by clicking here.




Says now is the time to utilize local outstanding chefs in teaching specialties

Sedona resident Paul Chevalier spoke to the College District Governing Board at its September meeting and urged that the new Sedona Culinary school teach “more than the basics.”  He said that current classes are filling a gap that was once filled by high schools.  But he urged the College to do more.

“Teaching line-cooking skills is a good start,” he said, “but line cooks earn from the minimum wage to not much more than $14 an hour.” He surmised that with advanced specialty courses being offered, wages for Institute graduates would be much higher.

Chevalier urged the College to consider immediately starting an advanced program that utilized locally talented chefs who would  teach specialty classes.   He noted that Sedona has well-recognized outstanding chefs who could be called upon to help with the teaching.

You may view Mr. Chevalier’s comments to the Board below.


Hotel management and hospitality and restaurant management and hospitality still looking for students

Per a story written by Zachary Jernigan in the Sedona red Rock news, Wednesday, July 12, 2017  the culinary courses that are being offered at the Sedona Center are already full. This is five weeks before the semester begins. However, the hotel management and hospitality course and restaurant management and hospitality course are still looking for students to sign up.

You may read the entire story in the Red Rock news by clicking here.


A Community College culinary school for Sedona?

Wills’ seems to suggest that it will happen: Some view her remarks as a “pledge”

Although Yavapai Community College President Penelope Wills may later change her mind, it appears she is going in the direction of locating a culinary school in the Yavapai College Sedona Center.  The College already has a small culinary offering that is run from Camp Verde in the evening. The college’s offerings there do not appear to constitute a “whole-hearted effort” to house a permanent culinary program.

The Sedona Redrock News interpreted Dr. Wills comments made to the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee February 3, 2016  as a “pledge.”  In an article written by Zachary Jernigan on February 10, he quotes Wills’ as saying “What is the best use of that building? It could be very good for culinary …. We’ve got all the data.”  Wills’ was referring to the Sedona Center when making those comments.

You may read all of Mr. Jernigan’s article by clicking here.

CULINARY SCHOOL 1In an interview given to Tom Tracey of the Verde Independent on January 21, 2016, Verde Campus Executive Dean James Perey said that “”When we get community input to Sedona programming, the major areas are Culinary and Hospitality; Arts and Music; Community Enrichment and Core Curriculum/General Education.”

Perey also told Mr. Tracey that the over 15,000 square-foot Sedona Center is roomy enough to accommodate a commercial kitchen, teaching kitchen and pastry lab. Funding for a redesign of the former cultural center had been previously planned for July of this year. According to Perey,  “Sedona is a number one tourist destination. What can we do to partner with resorts? We could also put on week-long ‘Edu-Cations’-an education plus a vacation. And if Red Rock High School students want to get involved, all they have to do is walk across the street.”

Perey also said that the popularity of Yavapai College culinary classes held evenings at Camp Verde High School has resulted in a waiting list.

You may read all of Mr. Tracey’s article in the Verde Independent by clicking here

VVBAC meets this Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

VVBAC meets this Wednesday

Hospitality and culinary presentations to be given

The Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee will meet this Wednesday, January 20, 2016 on the Verde Campus, Building M, Room 137, at 8:30 a.m.  The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 10:30.

Items on the agenda include a presentation by Dr. James Perey, Verde Valley Executive Dean, and Dennis Garvey, Dean for Lifelong Learning Division, on culinary and Hospitality Programs.  There will also be a discussion about gathering feedback on a number of focus questions submitted to the Committee by the Governing Board.


Sedona residents list unmet post secondary educational needs at Sedona Center

Culinary arts, Film Institute, and hospitality at top of educational needs expressed by 35 citizens at town hall meeting

The Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee (VVBAC) to the Yavapai Community College Governing Board held a town hall meeting at the Yavapai College Sedona Center October 21.  The purpose of the town hall meeting was to provide input to the VVBAC on the unmet post-secondary educational needs of the community.  At least 35 residents took the opportunity to express their views of the community needs to the Committee.

town hall meetingThere were a total of 97 persons who attended the event. Included in the audience were members of the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee, two members of the Yavapai College District Governing Board, and the Mayor and six of the seven Sedona City Councilors.

Representing the College were Vice President Clint Ewell and Dean Dennis Garvey, both from Prescott.  It should have come as no surprise to Ewell that the residents listed Culinary, return of the Film Institute, and hospitality as the top three unmet post secondary educational needs in the community.  He and President Penelope Wills have heard those requests repeatedly from Sedona and Verde Valley residents at numerous meetings over the past two years. Despite the many requests, President Wills and Vice President Ewell have consistently shown an arrogant propensity to ignore them. 

In an effort to placate the Verde Valley and Sedona folks, a small culinary effort was launched at Camp Verde High School this fall and twelve credits in digital photography were made available in Prescott and on the Verde Campus.  Neither of these offerings can be compared in any way to launching a serious culinary program, such as that operated at the Scottsdale Community College Campus, or take the place of the Sedona Film school, which offered almost 70 credits in film training.

Graduates of the Film School who spoke at the Town Hall meeting leveled biting criticism at the College for its 2014 closing.  One Film School graduate reflected the views of several others saying that “what we did at Zaki Gorden was unique in the country.  Fifteen years ago almost no one had a program like we had at Yavapai College.  In the last five years [of the Film School’s existence], while Yavapai College was cutting salaries, cutting staff, cutting the marketing budget, community colleges around the country were taking our idea and they were running with it.” Another Film School graduate focused on a lack of College management saying  that “it was a constant struggle to educate the College on what we [were] about. And how to properly run and market a Film School.”

Leaders in the restaurant, culinary, and hospitality industry in Sedona lamented the absence of a significant culinary and hospitality training program at the Sedona facility.  Kevin Maguire of the Enchantment Group said: “We can’t fill the positions we have at our properties.”  Sedona Rouge Executive Chef Ron Moley  expressed exasperation with the “small pool of [trained] chefs” in Sedona to service the 4 million or more annual visitors.  

Ms. Ruth Wicks suggested that the situation with Yavapai College had reached a point where the only option left for residents was to create a separate taxing district for the East side of the County. Only in this way, Wicks said, would the East side of the County be permanently removed from control of West County College administrators.

The videotapes of the citizen presentations will be available on YouTube in about a week.  The Blog will let you know when they are posted. A story about the Town Hall Meeting in the online edition of the  Redrock News can be found by clicking here.

An online poll is  being conducted by the Redrock News and asks: “What should Yavapai College provide to Sedona?”   You may take that poll by clicking here.


Board approves Culinary and Restaurant/Hotel Management

Governing Board approves Culinary and Restaurant/Hotel Management courses; negotiations ongoing about leasing arrangements on East side of the County

The first step in creating  programs  in  Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management was made at the January meeting of the Governing Board.  The Board unanimously approved creation of the courses that could lead to culinary and Restaurant/Hotel Management certificates.  The next step is to create a path to an Associate of Arts Decree and then a B.A. with Northern Arizona University (or another institution). 

NEW 2There was a great deal of focus on the culinary courses during the Board presentation by the Community College.  It was learned that somewhere between 200 and 250 students will have the opportunity to take the culinary courses on the West side of the Mountain.  The Mountain Institute JTED on the West side of the County has been running courses at a Fudrucker’s for over a year. JTED operates two Culinary Arts programs: the one housed at the former Fudrucker’s restaurant is considered a “central campus,” and another exists on the Chino Valley High School campus. In October, 2013 the Mountain Institute reported that Chino Valley’s program has 113 students currently enrolled, compared to 88 this past year; the central campus increased from 34 to 45.  At the Board meeting in January, 2015  Dr. Wills estimated 250 high school students on the West side of the County as potential applicants while Dean Perey put the figure at 200.

On the West side of the County JTED pays the Fain Signature Group, owner of the Fudrucker property, $2,500 per month or 50 cents per foot, according to a news report attributed to JTED Finance Director Howard Moody. Common area maintenance is another $1,204, with taxes and insurance of $1,616 per month, for a total of about $5,320 to $5,358 per month.

On the East side of the County, the goal is to locate the culinary facility at the Camp Verde High School,  which has a teaching kitchen.  It is estimated about 50 students will have the opportunity to take culinary classes from the Community College.  The details have yet to be worked out with the Camp Verde School District and the V’ACTE, the JTED for students on the East side of the County.

The Administration assured the Governing Board that residents on the East side of the County will be provided with adequate information about the two programs.  To view and hear Executive Dean Perey’s presentation to the Governing Board, please click here.




Governing Board to consider Culinary Arts Certificate

College Administration urges approval of culinary arts program to be located at Camp Verde High School

NEW 2The Community College administration will propose approval of a Culinary Arts Fundamentals Certificate at next Tuesday’s meeting (January 13, 1 p.m., the Rock House) on the Prescott Campus.  

In a statement urging the Governing Board to adopt the proposal, Vice President Stuart Blacklaw wrote:  “The Certificate in Culinary Arts Fundamentals is designed to equip students with basic skills in culinary arts including: culinary concepts and terminology, kitchen safety and sanitation, use of equipment, nutritional guidelines, measurements, food costing, and culinary theory and practice. To make a culinary arts program feasible, Yavapai College can lease a teaching kitchen with 6 separate units at Camp Verde High School. Currently there are over 200 students enrolled in secondary culinary programs in Yavapai County, however there is not yet a pathway to postsecondary certificates or credentials.”

According to Verde Executive Dean James Perey,  the “program provides instruction in culinary concepts and terminology, kitchen safety and sanitation, equipment usage, basic nutritional guidelines, standard and metric measurements, food costing, and theory and practice in the production of culinary products. Courses emphasize fundamental cooking techniques and preparation methods for hot foods, breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, dressings, breads and pastries.”

The College intends to lease space from Camp Verde High School for $5,000 a year to house the program.  It also intends to pay faculty in the program about $2,800 for teaching a four credit course.  

The recommendation comes from Dean Perey who wrote in the application to the Governing Board that “During the 2013-2014 I made three visits to culinary programs/institutes throughout the United States. Based on my findings it is not feasible to build new construction for a culinary arts program due to cost.”

The recommendation, which was not unexpected by those who carefully watch College activities,  will no doubt disappoint many in Sedona who were under the impression the College might seriously consider the Sedona Center for a culinary arts program. 

In describing the program in the January Agenda, the College states that once the program is set up, an advisory committee will meet up to twice a year.  The full agenda for the January 13 meeting where the proposal was made may be found by clicking here.