Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    4th semester culinary students in limbo

    By Geremy D. Lowe

    Laney College’s Culinary Arts Department has a history as the springboard for innovative individuals who graduate with their Associates of Science degree before moving on to bigger and better things.

    The curriculum is described on the culinary program’s website, giving prospective applicants an idea of how long it will take to complete the program. However, this fall’s curriculum has come to a halt, leaving some students unable to fulfill mandated requirements in order to become a certified chef.

    According to many staff, students, and one graduate of the culinary program, the fourth semester (which overviews International Cuisine in the Laney Bistro) has been cancelled. However, unconfirmed reports state that the Bistro will open by Thursday, Sept. 6 — staffed by third-semester students.

    This came as a rude awakening to many fourth-semester culinary students, who expected to be able to complete their program.

    “Due to low enrollment, there were not enough students to successfully operate a fourth semester in the Bistro,” said chef Alfred Brown. “Oakland is becoming a culinary mecca in the Bay Area. Many restaurants are opening and hiring students without a culinary degree.”

    The lack of marketing and advertisements for Laney’s Culinary Program, Brown went on to say, may be another cause of low enrollment within the department.

    Low enrollment numbers have a huge impact on the viability of many departments to function. “In order to operate a place like the Laney Bistro effectively, we need at least 15 students; but the class enrollment numbers were said to be too low,” explained another Laney staff member, who preferred not to be named. “We need more funding from the [Peralta Community College] District to promote not just the Culinary Arts Department, but all departments suffering from a low-enrollment crisis.”

    Some students are frustrated over the miscommunication by the Culinary Arts Department. They received little clarification, and not enough time to make different schedule arrangements.

    “There are rumors of budget cuts facing Laney College, which is why we could not participate in International Cuisine,” said Minerva Van Straatum, a current culinary student. “I was never notified by administrators that the fourth semester was cancelled. I was told by a colleague.”

    A recent graduate of Laney’s Culinary Program, chef Anthony M. Stingley, said he did not experience challenges to complete his fourth semester (which he did last spring) that the current culinary students are facing. Stingley also noted how unfortunate it is that those students who have completed three-fourths of the program are now in limbo, worrying about when the next part of the program will be available.

    The Culinary Department Chairs, chefs Lorrainn Raji and Chantal Martin, did not respond to a request to comment.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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