Talk to our current students, our alumni and the most respected chefs in Portland, and there’s a common factor many will cite as the reason for OCI’s success in educating its students: our staff.
Our chef instructors come from varied and well-rounded backgrounds (Have you ever met a chef who’s knowledgeable in marine biology, a master gardener, an expert mushroom hunter and an edible inner tidal specialist? Well, we have one on our staff!), offering decades of experience and a wealth of knowledge. Their connections in the Portland culinary community run deep.
In addition, each member of our faculty is committed to ensuring our students succeed – and remains committed even long after graduation.
CO-FOUNDER / CAMPUS PRESIDENT
(Associate of Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
Brian drives the culture at Oregon Culinary Institute and built the foundation of academic excellence designing our core culinary program. Born and raised in Chicago, he spent over a decade traveling the globe studying international cuisine before landing in Portland and attending Western Culinary Institute in 1994. Hired as an instructor at Western upon graduation, he also spent years as a personal chef and ran a catering company with his wife Jill. Together with Eric Stromquist he founded OCI in 2006 and provides heart and soul for the entire school.
(Bachelor of Science in Political Science, Portland State University, Portland, OR)
Together with Brian Wilke, Eric founded OCI in 2006 and helped build a culture of academic excellence with a focus on student success, and respect for employees at all levels, infused with a sense of humor and a passion for education. Although now semi-retired he continues to haunt the halls and strives to keep the OCI vision alive.
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
(Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA)
Tom joined Oregon Culinary Institute in 2010 as an Instructor and is now Director of Education, responsible for mentoring faculty and advising students on maintaining satisfactory academic progress. He brings more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant business ranging from Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Los Angeles to the Heathman Hotel in Portland, and 13 years as General Manager of James Beard award winner Higgins Restaurant. His unique combination of subject content expertise and theater background makes him the consummate lecturer and one of our most popular instructors.
(Bachelor of the Arts - Theology, Multnomah University, Portland, OR; Associate of Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
Josh is part of the original Oregon Culinary Institute faculty from 2006 and our resident international cuisine expert. He brings traditional experience from various positions and restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, but it is his extensive travel through North America and the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and particularly Asia that sets him apart. He also taught international cuisine at Western Culinary Institute and has studied with local chefs in Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and Nepal. Every day at OCI he draws on this unique background and knowledge to inspire our second-term students.
(Master of Library and Information Science, University of Washington, WA; Bachelor of Arts in English and Certificate in Women’s Studies, PSU, Portland, OR)
Darla brings a wealth of knowledge and experience garnered from almost 20 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry, as well as 5 years serving as the director of library services at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland. Darla has worked at various positions, including management, in both front and back of the house for restaurants and caterers in LA and Portland, including the Heathman Hotel, where she developed her knowledge of worldwide wines and single malt beverages. She joined OCI’s management faculty at OCI in 2016 bringing her attention to detail and extensive food knowledge to the classroom.
LEAD CHEF INSTRUCTOR
(Associate of Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
Bikram was born and raised in Nepal before starting a culinary career odyssey that would take him to such far-flung locales as India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Greece, Peru, San Francisco, and Reno, Nevada. Before completing a formal education at Western Culinary Institute, where he also taught international cuisine, he received several certifications in hospitality management in his home country, ran a successful restaurant and bar in Katmandu, and trained with renowned chefs all over the world. He is a member of the original Oregon Culinary Institute faculty from 2006 and his infectious enthusiasm has filled the halls and kitchens here ever since.
LEAD CHEF INSTRUCTOR
(Bachelor of Arts in Biology, University of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, SD)
Dan is the resident encyclopedia of knowledge at Oregon Culinary Institute. In addition to nearly three decades experience in kitchens overlapping two decades of teaching experience, he is an expert in marine biology, master gardener, and mushroom expert. He has been at OCI since 2006 and, aside from being one of our Lead Chef Instructors in the classroom, is our most active faculty member leading field trips, organizing student projects, and speaking in the community.
LEAD CHEF INSTRUCTOR
(Diploma in Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
Salvatore gave up a promising career as a pastry chef to dedicate himself to teaching others, and he is extraordinarily passionate about it. After graduating at the top of his class from Western Culinary Institute he worked both sweet and savory sides of the line at several of Portland’s finest restaurants and bakeries including Cream Bakery & Cafe. He joined the Oregon Culinary Institute faculty in 2008 and quickly distinguished himself as a talented instructor and was promoted to Lead Chef Instructor in 2010, now heading up our baking and pastry programs.
LEAD CHEF INSTRUCTOR
(Grand Diplôme, Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, France)
We believe Robert is one of the most experienced and best pastry instructors in America. Period. After a stellar career including stints as Executive Pastry Chef at the Fairmount and Pan Pacific hotels in San Francisco, he taught for nearly 15 years at the California Culinary Academy where he designed and chaired their pastry program. He also taught at Western Culinary Institute where he oversaw the implementation of their Le Cordon Bleu baking and pastry programs, and finally joined Oregon Culinary Institute in 2006 where he also designed and perfected our program. Now retired, he is our resident professor emeritus of baking and pastry and can be found both weekdays and weekends guest lecturing, mentoring the faculty, and continuing to teach and inspire students.
(Associate of Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts, The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY)
Randall is a veteran of over 40 years in the hospitality, restaurant and retail grocery business from cooking with the legendary Jeremiah Towers in San Francisco to owning and operating the Viande Meats Company in Portland. He also brings over a decade of teaching experience, is our resident sausage and charcuterie expert, and has introduced the first-term students at Oregon Culinary Institute to culinary arts since 2007.
(Bachelor of Science in Justice Administration, Portland State University, Portland, OR; and Associate of Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
Mike is so affable and unassuming you wouldn’t guess he’s as knowledgeable about both cooking and restaurant management as he is. Before joining the management degree faculty at Oregon Culinary Institute in 2012 he worked as a line cook, butcher, restaurant manager, banquet manager, chocolatier and baker, and dining room service and wine studies instructor. No one else at OCI can make our students laugh like he can, and still make them better.
(Bachelor of Science in Business Economics, Willamette University, Salem, OR; and Associate of Occupational Studies in Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
Ken has serious chops as both a chef and an instructor. His career as a kitchen leader spans more than 15 years and includes several acclaimed restaurants in Washington, Texas and California. He also spent more than a decade as a lead instructor at Western Culinary Institute teaching both culinary technique and business management before coming to Oregon Culinary Institute in 2011. His rare combination of deep experience and teaching savvy provides the foundation for our culinary students.
(Bachelor of Arts in English, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and Diploma in Baking & Pastry, Oregon Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
Caitlyn has a long history working in and around the restaurant business. After putting the cherry on top of her educational sundae with a diploma in baking and pastry from Oregon Culinary Institute, she made the rounds gaining invaluable experience at some of Portland's premier restaurants and bakeries Including Grand Central Bakery, Oven & Shaker, Nostrana, and Andina. She returned to OCI in 2015 as a seasoned professional and now teaches baking and pastry to the next generation of graduates.
(MBA in International Hospitality Management, IMHI (Cornell-Essec), Paris, France; Culinary Arts Degree, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR; Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR; and First Level Certification Court of Masters Sommeliers)
Raul has an outstanding academic background, and his body of work includes stops in Oaxaca, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and New York City where he was an assistant manager at the Michelin-starred Le Cirque restaurant as well as Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis Hotel. From there he moved to Southern California where he was the F&B Manager at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, and the General Manager at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel. He joins the Oregon Culinary Institute faculty to share his wealth of experience and knowledge with our degree students studying hospitality and business management, and of course wine.
(Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Culinary Arts – Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology, BhartiVidyapith Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, New Bombay, India)
A culinary "jack-of-all-trades", Indian Native, Chef Wynkoop is one of OCI's newest additions. Her chef experience stems all the way from training at the five-star Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel in Mumbai, India to helping design and implement the Indian Cusine section at the Bon Appetit kitchen on the Intel Corporation campus in Oregon. Prior to OCI, Chef Wynkoop taught at Le Cordon Bleu for 15 years in both the Baking & Pastry and Culinary programs. Her community involvement includes teaching classes at numerous venues, including Bob’s Red Mill, the Oktoberfest at Oaks Park, and Collective Kitchen at Decadent Creations. Chef Wynkoop is also a Certified Executive Pastry Chef by the American Culinary Federation. She's excited to be a part of OCI's team so she can contribute her skills and knowledge to the world of future chefs.
(Associates of Arts in Baking and Pastry, The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY)
Chef Damon brings experience from several high-end culinary establishments, along with over a decade of teaching. After completing her Associates in Baking and Pastry from the Culinary Institute of America, and working along the East Coast as a Pastry Chef, she eventually made her way to Portland in early 2000. Once in Portland, she worked at Moonstruck Chocolate Company and Mississippi Station. After years of mastering her craft, Chef Damon decided to leverage her knowledge to teach others. In 2004, she began working as a Pastry Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Chef Damon is a sweet addition to the already unique mix of ingredients that help shape the next wave of OCI Sugar Bakers.
(University of Puget Sound, Bachelor of Arts, Professional Writing Le Cordon Bleu Paris, Grand Dimplome)
Chef Tse joins OCI after a 12 year corporate marketing career. In her 30s, she quit her job to study cuisine and pastry at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, finishing first in both disciplines. She has worked at world renowned 3 Michelin star Le Restaurant Guy Savoy and internationally famous Pierre Herme, and has also taught cooking classes at Sur La Table. A former regular guest on KATU news, she has filmed over 50 technique-focused cooking videos on YouTube called Cooking with Tse. In 2013, she became part of the faculty at The Art Institute of Portland’s International Culinary Program, and in 2015 joined Le Cordon Bleu Portland as a full time chef instructor. She is the first chef to teach at all three Portland schools.
(Master of Fine Arts, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA; and Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA)
Ally is an award winning poet, writer and blogger with a broad range of academic and professional experience. She's been a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Iowa, a tutor and coach at the Student Alliance Project in Portland, and an instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. She joined the OCI faculty in 2015 and now uses her obvious passion for education, teaching chops, and wonderful sense of humor to our English, communications, and humanitites classes.
(Master of Education, Portland State University, Portland, OR; and Bachelor of Arts in English, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY)
Laurie's unique combination of educational background and professional experience is the perfect recipe for success. Aside from her impressive academic credentials, she has worked as an instructor for Le Cordon Bleu and the Portland Public Schools, and also as a marketing and deli manager for the Food Front Cooperative and Nature's grocery stores. She joined Oregon Culinary Institute faculty in 2012 and now shares her knowledge and life experience teaching food ethics, humanities, and English to our students.
(Diploma of Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
Hailing from the Rose City, Erick joins the OCI team with nearly 2 decades of experience in the local restaurant industry. His recent successes include Sous Chef titles at Caprial’s Bistro and Taquieria Nueve. For the past 8 years, Erick’s focus surrounded Hotel hospitality where he was responsible for house butchery, charcuterie production, as well as supervising multiple cooks. Erick’s also a homebrew hobbyist with 4 awards from Oregon State Fair’s homebrew competition.
(Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, University of Montana; Honors Diploma in Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR)
After earning a degree in creative writing from the University of Montana, John began working in restaurants and found the atmosphere absolutely riveting. His experience stems all over the U.S. including Montana, Alaska, New Mexico, California, and Oregon. While working in Alaska, his chef encouraged him to pursue his passion by earning a culinary school education. So he attended Western Culinary Institute where he earned an honors diploma.He has been fortunate to work in several restaurants deemed “Restaurant of the Year” by the Oregonian newspaper, such as Fiddleheads and !Oba! John emphasizes liberating inherent flavors in food; preparing it with love; team building; and helping others achieve their goals.
“OCI’s staff is its most valuable tool. They care about the students, and they get to know you as people. Even instructors you haven’t had know your name, what you are doing and what your plans are.”
~ Janon Bourgeois, Oregon Culinary Institute Graduate
“The chef instructors at OCI exude an aura. They’re very knowledgeable, but more importantly they know how to share their knowledge with students.”
~ Aimee Huff, Oregon Culinary Institute Graduate
“I trained some of their teachers in my restaurants, and in turn they train with the same vigilance they were trained with. Their instructors are awesome chefs who know how to put good food on a plate. I can’t say enough good things about their staff.”
~ Chef Vitaly Paley, chef/owner, Paley’s Place, Imperial and Portland Penny Diner, and James Beard Foundation Award winner, Iron Chef America winner and noted cookbook author