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Column: C4 Culinary Arts program not traditional cooking class

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THE C4 Culinary Arts program has come a long way from Home Ec — so much so that it has become a major player in the overall community.

Part of the Columbus Area Career Connections, the Culinary Arts program has branched out in a fashion that provides its students with real-life learning experiences that also serve to benefit other area institutions.

Typical of that relationship is the one that has been forged by the Culinary Arts students with the annual Empty Bowls food pantry fundraising event.

Ironically, that relationship has developed an added benefit through one of the students’ senior projects.

The Jan. 26 fundraiser at Central Middle School is the second in which the Culinary Arts students have been


Last year the students pitched in to provide the food service after previous providers dropped out of the program for a variety of reasons.

Approximately 30-40 of the students pitched in to prepare and serve many of the dishes.

The students’ involvement this year has been advanced to a higher level. Columbus East senior Brayden Grider proposed for his senior project a program that pairs culinary arts education with the Empty Bowls effort.

Grider and his C4 teacher Carrie Douglas will conduct two free classes about the art of soup-making on Jan. 12 and 19 at Eastside Community Center, 421 McClure Road, as a means to promote this year’s Empty Bowls dinner.

The goal of the senior project is not only to provide residents with affordable ways to make their own soups but also to encourage their students to make soups of their own for the Empty Bowl project.

The involvement with Empty Bowls is but one of many instances in which the C4 program has been integrated into community life.

Douglas and her students, for instance prepared and served the entire meal for last month’s Volunteers in Medicine fundraiser at the Clarion Hotel.

They also prepared the meal for the annual meeting of CAMEO (Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization).

In 2009, it partnered with Ivy Tech State College to offer three degree programs: an associate of applied science, an associate of science and technical certificate in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts.

Those kind of partnerships obviously benefit the overall C4 program, but the major beneficiaries are the students who are no longer shoe-horned into old


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