Students in the CTEC Culinary Arts program learn culinary techniques, restaurant management skills as well as task management and professional skills in a state-of-the-art commercial-grade kitchen under the guidance of professional chefs. In addition to learning culinary techniques, CTEC Culinary Arts students have opportunities to cater events, host pop-up shops for the community, and other opportunities to hone their skills.
CTEC Culinary Arts students have the opportunity to compete at the state and national level under the ProStart competition. With Leisure and Hospitality being the state’s second-fastest growing industry, CTEC Culinary Arts prepares future professionals for high-demand careers.
We want our students to be ready to gain employment in entry-level restaurant-industry jobs or gain successful entry into secondary training programs. The restaurant industry is Oregon’s fifth largest employer. As the population in the Willamette Valley grows, the need for trained culinary professionals will grow with it. CTEC is providing the culinary workforce of tomorrow with the industry skills necessary to succeed, innovate, and sustain. Students will obtain food handler’s cards and have the opportunity to obtain ServSafe certification.
With highly integrated curriculum, students learn science and English through the lens of Culinary Arts. Project-based curriculum allows students to develop proficiency of academic, technical, and professional skills. Students explore career options in their programs, enhanced by regular interaction with industry professionals from the community as well as job fairs and other career preparatory opportunities. Throughout this program, students develop a professional portfolio that highlights their technical skills and abilities and professional experiences. CTEC Culinary Arts students graduate with a plan and the ability to adjust the plan throughout their career. With a foundation of industry-standard skills, relevant and integrated science and English training, and the ability to interact with technical equipment, our students are ready to pursue their dreams and goals.
Maria Larios Mendoza, Culinary Arts and Management Instructor
Maria “Susie” Larios has taught for 3 years and has 20+ years of industry experience. Her favorite part of being at CTEC is building relationships with students. In her downtime, she enjoys watching true crime shows and documentaries.
Caroline Spaulding, Culinary Arts and Management Instructor
Caroline Spaulding earned her BA in History and her MEd at the University of Oregon. She has taught at Agnes Stewart Middle School, Thurston High School and Amity Middle School. She has worked at CTEC since 2016. “The thing I love the most about working at CTEC is the community we build within our program. I feel like we have worked to build a safe, accepting, caring learning environment that students feel comfortable taking risks in. I love seeing students blossom in their technical, academic and professional skills. After years as a conventional English teacher, I would see students struggle with reading and writing but thrive in hands-on environments. At CTEC, I can find ways to infuse my English curriculum into the hands-on technical content the students are learning.” When she is not at CTEC, she enjoys hanging out with her family, gardening, CrossFit, cooking and baking, traveling and “laughing until my sides hurt”.
Austin Stinson, Culinary Arts & Management Instructor
Austin received his Certificate of Culinary Arts from Linn Benton Community College. He has been at CTEC since 2019, and prior to that he mentored students for the ProStart state competition. Austin has been in the industry since 2006, and he was a student in the culinary program at South Salem High School. He has worked in Front and Back of house at multiple jobs and has a passion for the food industry and serving guests and providing excellent service. As a high school student, Austin was a 2008 ProStart State Championship team member, and worked at Mona Lisa’s Coffee Shop.
Austin currently moonlights at Sybaris Bistro, and he has been there since 2008. He has been a sous-chef: working the line, managing inventory, training, and scheduling, and he also worked in the front of house as a server for multiple years. Austin was featured as a team member in the NYC James Beard Dinner highlighting Oregon truffles in 2019. Austin worked for First Burger for over 6 years as a line cook and front of house manager, at Illahee Hills Country Club for 3 years, and Willamette University’s Bon Appétit Management Company for 2 years. Austin’s favorite thing about working at CTEC is that he gets to help students that are passionate about food learn how to cook and help them understand and prepare for a career in the foodservice and hospitality industry. When Austin is not at work, he enjoys building his Lego collection, spending time with family, cooking, and occasionally stepping back onto the line for a night of fast-paced service.