Seen from the sea: Ira Krizo lets faith be her guide in the kitchen, in progress | Seen from the seaside
What does the Christian dining experience mean?
Those who work in the restaurant industry are often not very patient, said Ira Krizo, director of the Christian Culinary Academy at Cannon Beach. “They are not always very nice, not always very loving to each other,” he said. “Often they are there for themselves. “
God calls Christians to be loving, patient and kind, he said.
Its cons to a tense industry? “Our school is for Christians because it is founded on discipleship, how to become confident in your faith and your culinary skills in the industry,” Krizo said.
“You are not a pilot”
Krizo grew up on the California-Oregon border, a mile and a half from the small town of Tule Lake, on the family horseradish and barley farm.
To overcome his shyness, he took public speaking classes and joined the Future Business Leaders of America in high school. He was also terrified of heights, so he conquered it by attending an aeronautic school.
“When I was young I was really shy and it was hard for me to talk to anyone,” Krizo said. “One thing I’ve always had is driving. If I have challenges, it becomes my main focus, not in a negative way, but in a positive way. “
After graduating, he went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona to become a commercial airline pilot. A side work waiting table hijacked his piloting career after accepting a job as a cook at the Sheraton complex in Prescott.
While he had a rough time – the sous chef didn’t like him very much and sometimes Krizo got knives thrown at him – the industry grew on him. “I kept discovering that I had a lot more passion for cooking and not so much for flying,” he said. “Basically God said, ‘You are not a pilot.’ “
Krizo attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he learned that being a chef was a career, not just a job.
He studied in Paris and worked at leading Italian restaurants in Sydney, Australia, before returning to the United States as a chef at Bertrand’s, a gourmet French restaurant in San Diego.
Krizo started Christian Chefs International in 1998, developing a curriculum and teaching culinary arts for what would become a life of teaching.
Krizo owned the Pinehurst Inn and the White Pine Restaurant, a gourmet bed and breakfast in South East Ashland. “We got all kinds of great reviews, newspaper articles, but the lease was done and it was not viable to buy it,” he said.
He joined a large restaurant company in Portland, Catering at Its Best, as a chef. But all along, Krizo believed his end goal would be a culinary school.
“I believe God spoke to me many times. One time it was so clear it might as well have been an audible voice, ”Krizo said. “I knew I was going to be a part of something like that someday to train others.”
He responded to an invitation to settle on the North Coast in 2013 and started the Christian Culinary Academy. “The door has opened to come here, and here we are,” Krizo said.
He rents the facility at the Christian Conference Center.
“This is not a culinary school of a Bible college and a seminary,” Krizo said. “It is a culinary school that prepares students to become professionals in the sector to which they are called. Many students get into gastronomy.
The program includes a classic program, with the participation of “The Galloping Gourmet” Graham Kerr and world master chef Karl Guggenmos on the school’s advisory board.
“We start with knife skills and get into soups, broths, sauces, then cooking methods for different proteins, meats, fish, poultry, seafood, vegetables, starches… says Krizo.
Guest instructors come from restaurants along the coast or come from other locations. “Today we had Chef Tyler Benson,” Krizo said. “He actually spent quite a bit of time in Sri Lanka. “
While most of the students come from the West, the aspiring chefs come from all over the United States and the school is approved to accept international students. Most culinary schools operate five hours a day, five days a week. The academy operates five days a week, eight hours a day, allowing students to complete a two-year program into a one-year program.
Many graduates go to Christian conference centers, Krizo said. Local restaurants that have hired graduates include the Stephanie Inn, the Wayfarer, Sea Level Bakery + Coffee, and Dough Dough Bakery. Nationally, students in this year’s class will visit Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs, Colo., Scott River Lodge in Fort Jones, Calif., And The Crooked Ram in Manchester, Vermont, among other destinations.
Krizo and his wife, Abby, live with their two boys, Jonathan, 16, and Samuel, 11, in Seaside. They met in Cannon Beach while she was working as a business manager at Ecola Bible College.
Cooking during the pandemic
During the pandemic, vocational schools were seen as essential, Krizo said, and the academy was not closed.
“When COVID-19 hit a year ago one of the things that kept me awake all night was what can we do so that it is not a circumstance of what is going on, but what can we do do to make a difference, ”he said.
Students baked hundreds of breads daily and distributed them to food banks. When their chef’s annual dinner, usually held in the institute’s dining room, was canceled due to the pandemic, they switched to take out Café Dieu, with food prepared by student chefs and available from of the North Coast Family Fellowship in Seaside.
“The only thing the pandemic has changed for us is that it has opened the door for us to more support in the community by producing food for the food bank and blessing the community with our Coffee Takeout events. God, ”he said. “With the quality of their reception, we plan to continue both after the pandemic has ended. “
Prior to a recent dinner, reservations were filled a week in advance. A waiting list filled up and the student chefs of the academy served 150 guests.
Krizo can’t wait to fall. “We are excited about all the applications that have already been received,” he said. There are still some places.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” Krizo said. “Now that I’m doing it, I always want to improve. There is always room for improvement.