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Lincoln City is Cookin'
Published: 12/18/2009
Lincoln City is known for its art glass floats  placed on area beaches, but is now also home to another local attraction: the Culinary Center in Lincoln City.
Lincoln City is known for its art glass floats placed on area beaches, but is now also home to another local attraction: the Culinary Center in Lincoln City.
Gary Hayes

Executive chef Sharon Wiest doesn't mind a crowd in her kitchen, in fact, that's the idea at the Culinary Center in Lincoln City.

Lincoln City is cooking up something special these days. The Culinary Center in Lincoln City is serving up culinary classes, demonstrations and cook-offs much to the delight of coastal residents and visitors. Featuring a state-of-the-art professional kitchen and a demonstration area complete with cameras, flat screen monitors and theater seating, participants learn on professional equipment and often feel like they are on the set of a live cooking show!

Culinary classes are available for all ages and students learn the basics like knife skills, making stocks, breads, soups and stews, in addition to seasonal and more elaborate menus. The center also provides the state-mandated training for food handlers and restaurant staff. Top-notch guest chefs from some of the best Northwest restaurants are often invited to teach classes, and beginning this spring a series of cook-offs will be added to the line-up.

The Culinary Center was created through the collaborative efforts of the Lincoln City Visitors Bureau, city officials and visionary chef and Blackfish Café owner, Rob Pounding. The non-profit operation is currently supported by various foundations and grants, but its mission is to be self-sustaining and, according to Pounding, to offer a permanent site where "the art and craft of food and beverage preparation could be explored, taught and promoted" with visitors and local residents.

The Culinary Center places a great importance on practicing sound ecological principles and works to operate as green as possible. "We use locally produced fresh organic foods whenever we can," said new executive chef Sharon Wiest, "and we try to leave as small a footprint as possible." Little goes to waste here. The center uses china rather than disposable tableware, and their recycling program even includes the repurposing of food scraps via a small electric composter that turns piles of potato peels and egg shells into nutrient rich soil in a matter of days.

Perched at the top of a four-story building, the culinary center also serves up panoramic views of Lincoln City with ocean sunsets providing a delicious backdrop. So, when you're finished whipping up that soufflé, squash soup or apple galette, sit back and savor the fruits, and veggies of your labor in style. - By Veronica Russell/Stella Bennett

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