North Clackamas holds first culinary Industry Day
Culinary students in the North Clackamas School District typically get one or two guest speakers a term, but last month's first Industry Day brought 20 people working in the field to the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center.
Among the attendees at the April 18 event were a cheesemaker, a baker, the owner of Lucky Rabbit Snacks and the owner of the Kim Jong Grillin' Food Truck. One chef introduced the students to a salad of wild-crafted fern curls, dandelion, mustard greens, miner's lettuce and wild onions.
"It's all extremely local and it tastes of the forest and springtime in Oregon," said Greg Cabeza, an artisan chef at Market of Choice.
Cabeza, who identifies as Apache, says that his Native American family was "constantly hunting and fishing" as he grew up helping his family survive tough Idaho winters by farming an acre of land with corn and potatoes, two storage crops native to the Americas.
"It goes much deeper than just a meal, because for Natives, food is medicine," Cabeza told the students. "It's something that's a part of me now."
"It was intriguing to me that you could go out into the forest, find all these foods and make something out of it," said Clackamas junior Sawyer Sahagun, who helped his father run a Mexican restaurant when the family lived near Veneta, Oregon.
Clackamas senior Julian Granade's family also had been involved in catering as he was growing up. Recognizing how cultural background can influence a chef's cuisine, he noted that his father is Japanese, while the other half of his family is from the southern U.S., two regions with strong culinary traditions. Granade combined these two influences to create a recent panko-coated chicken-and-waffles dish.
Eden Johnson, a sophomore taking the introductory culinary class, appreciated hearing about the backgrounds of industry presenters. She said she's already been making her family ice cream, lemon curd and focaccia using skills from school.
Robin Frojen, the creamery manager for the dairy at Oregon State University, said she left her students in Corvallis to make cheese themselves while she spent the day traveling and teaching in Clackamas.
"Whatever you guys need, I'll come up and do it," Frojen told Sabin-Schellenberg teachers.
Sabin-Schellenberg culinary teacher Todd Koebke said he had never before seen "15 kids pushing around a table excited to learn about cheese."