EDWARDS, Colorado - This fall, Colorado Mountain College's campus in Edwards is launching two new certificate programs in "sustainable cuisine" in an effort to bring greater environmental awareness to the food we buy, prepare and enjoy.
"Colorado Mountain College created these certificates in order to help future chefs and restaurateurs learn about the issues, challenges and opportunities involved in creating sustainable food service operations," said Todd Rymer, director of culinary education at the college's campus in Edwards. "This will also offer community members the opportunity to learn about these issues and to develop a philosophy that we are not simply consumers but co-producers of our food."
The certificate programs, which offer a thorough, accredited approach to sustainable cuisine, will include a shorter offering for food service professionals and a longer program for culinary arts students. Both options will focus on the principle of sustainability, or meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, Rymer said.
"Our current food system relies on importing our community's food and degrades our health, security, economy, soil, water, air and relationships," Rymer said. "This program offers students the opportunity to learn about these issues and alternatives that can improve the quality of our health, community and environment."
Fall semester starts week of Aug. 30
Coursework toward the Sustainable Cuisine Operations I certificate will introduce students to the expanding area of food service operations based on the principles of sustainability. Students will learn basic cooking skills and the essentials for working in a successful sustainable food service operation. To earn the certificate, students take 21 college credits and undergo almost 400 hours of hands-on training.
A shorter certificate program in Sustainable Cuisine Operations II is targeted at professionals already working in the culinary arts who want to create and operate successful sustainable food service operations. Students will learn ways to cost-effectively improve an operation's environmental and social impacts. The certificate requires that students complete five credit hours and almost 100 hours of hands-on training.
The hands-on cooking portions of the classes will be taught in the new professionally equipped learning kitchen shared by Colorado Mountain College at the neighboring Battle Mountain High School.
A recent survey of 1,800 chefs, conducted by the National Restaurant Association, found the No. 1 culinary trend is locally grown produce. The second most popular trend is locally sourced meats and seafood, and the third-hottest trend is sustainability.
Graduates of Colorado Mountain College's sustainable cuisine program could work as chefs, restaurateurs, food service consultants, vendors, community organizers, environmentalists, educators or writers.
Raised garden beds were constructed on the campus grounds this spring and are already producing delicious organic vegetables, said Rymer. Future plans for the program include a greenhouse space so students can extend the growing season to a full 12 months. The 500-square-foot greenhouse, using energy-efficient design innovations, is part of the campus renovation and expansion plans that will kick off this summer in Edwards.
More information on the sustainable cuisine certificates is available by contacting Rymer at 970-569-2920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.