COCC culinary students serve guests from afar

Dinner welcomes visitors from Kazakhstan, the Ukraine

COCC culinary students serve guests from afar

BEND, Ore. - The sounds of students inside the Jungers Culinary Center at Central Oregon Community College preparing a meal is nothing new.

From the sounds of a mixer churning, to a cart of delectable desserts, it may not seem like Wednesday night's dinner service is that big of deal. But these Cascade Culinary Institute students are preparing a meal for delegates from Kazakhstan and the Ukraine.

"Our goal tonight was to not serve them what they know, it was to serve them what is Central Oregon," said Executive Chef Gene Fritz.

They were here to check out the school's program, with hopes of some day starting there own back home.

"Part of their interests was looking at the possibility of developing hospitality and culinary programs, and they looked around for the best," said COCC President Jim Middleton. "We are on that list."

For students of this class, it's an opportunity of a lifetime.

"So we do it every day -- this isn't any different than that, but there is a little bit more pressure because it's gone sort of global tonight, " said Fritz.

Those involved hope the meeting will open up more doors for Central Oregon students and the still-growing program.

"Hopefully, this is going to become an exchange of ideas and conversation that will present an opportunity for our students to even learn beyond Bend," Fritz said.

As students finished up their final preps, time for dinner service -- a meal that could lead to a new partnership spanning the globe.

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