Over five years and $10.5 million of work culminated in two snips of a giant pair of scissors as President Bob Knight cut the ribbon to open the McClaskey Culinary Institute on Nov. 28.
Knight began the ceremony by thanking those involved in the design, building and funding of the institute, including the McClaskey Family Foundation which donated $4 million.
“What a great day in the life of Clark College,” Knight said to over 100 attendees packed in the cafeteria. His audience included Ridgefield Mayor, Vancouver Mayor-Elect, Japanese Portland Consul General, college administration and faculty, ASCC, and Clark County Council members.
Culinary Campaign Advisory Committee member Rick Takach said few kitchens rival this one, which will bring much-needed cooks into the job market.
Clark College Foundation Director of Communications Rhonda Morin said fundraising is ongoing with $6 million acquired so far, not including $10,000 presented at the ceremony by the Wine and Food Society of Clark County.
Dean of Workplace, Career and Technical Education Genevieve Howard closed the ceremony by presenting engraved cutting boards to three culinary instructors, Workplace, Professional and Technical Education Admin Services Manager Vicki Cheng and Project Manager Jim Watkins.
After the ribbon cutting, attendees lined up past the Gaiser Welcome Center to tour the kitchens, eating a variety of prepared foods and baked goods.
“I’ve worked in kitchens half this size to serve twice as many people,” Culinary instructor Aaron Guerra said, “we’re very fortunate.” He said their culinary degree costs $15,000 compared to $30,000 for an equivalent degree in Portland.
After a soft open the preceding week, full service began Nov. 29. The facility is open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday.