Plans are finally cooking for a new culinary school and community kitchen in Del Norte.
On Tuesday the County Board of Supervisors approved a $33,000 contract with Rural Human Services, a non-profit community service organization now tasked with determining if and how a culinary arts training center might work here.
Part of a state-awarded 2011–12 Community Development Block Grant is footing the bill for this feasibility study.
“This money is to flush out the idea. The idea being that our community would benefit from a culinary arts training facility and community kitchen, which could also be used for other purposes,” said RHS Workforce Center Director Tim Hoone.
By first looking at similar enterprises, such as one at Santa Rosa Junior College, the study will lay out a business plan, Hoone said.
The proposed center is likely to include many local partners, like farmers, vendors at the Farmer’s Market, the community college, the school district and others.
Critics of the proposal have said Del Norte only needs so many cooks in its kitchens.
Hoone said that vocational training isn’t the only goal. A culinary center could also be a regional draw and a community-wide asset.
“Classes for high school and college students could be oriented toward skills to use in a career. For the community, it could be geared toward preparing healthy meals,” he said.
For now, it’s still pie in the sky. RHS has until September 2013 to deliver a study to the county.