culinary arts faculty


Cindy Schwanke
“I love the Culinary Arts. It is filled with action, excitement, and incredibly creative people. In the years to come, this industry will be a leader in creating new jobs, in generating large amounts of revenue, in paying out solid salaries, and in offering great opportunities. I am mostly excited that, for many people, their careers will begin here at the College of the Canyons Institute for Culinary Education.”

Cindy is the lead faculty member for the College of the Canyons Institute for Culinary Education. She holds a degree in Culinary Arts and Foodservice Management and has worked in the industry for more than 30 years. She started her culinary career as a bakery clerk and, over the years, has been a bakery manager and a regional bakery and meat specialist for several retail outlets, including Costco and Alpha Beta. After working on the retail side, she went back to school to earn her culinary degree and used her creativity and passion for baking and pastry to become Pastry Chef for the Hyatt Hotel chain and Pastry Chef for Smashbox Studios, a major film studio. She has worked with top chefs and pastry chefs, including Wolfgang Puck and Sherry Yard at Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. She teaches a variety of classes, including Culinary Fundamentals, Pastry, Cake Decorating, and Chocolates.


David Binkle
David is a Certified Executive Chef, a Certified Culinary Administrator and Certified Executive Pastry Chef with more than 30 years experience. He currently serves as Deputy Director of Food Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District where he oversees menu and compliance areas within the division, ensuring the District stays at the forefront of national, state and local food policies and procedures. He teaches Knife Skills and other classes. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Health from Oklahoma Panhandle State University and learned his culinary skills at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at California State University, Northridge Tseng College of Business. He is a longtime member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), Retail Bakers of America (RBA), World Association of Chef’s Society (WACS) and Texas Chef’s Association (TCA). He is currently serving as the President of the Chef’s de Cuisine Association of California located in Los Angeles.


Gevork Kazanchyan
Gevork provides instruction in Culinary Safety and Sanitation at iCuE. He is a Loss Control and Prevention Specialist with the Risk Management Branch of Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Office. He earned a master’s degree in Environmental and Occupational Health and was a Public Health Officer for 7 years. Additionally, he is a Professor of Environmental Health at his alma mater, California State University Northridge. He is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist with the California Department of Public Health, and a Certified Professional in Food Safety with the National Environmental Health Association. He has served on an expert panel for the “Ask a Food Safety Expert” Project (Iowa State University Extension), as well as a Project Reviewer for the “Food Safe Schools Committee” (NEHA).


Daniel Otto
Daniel teaches a number of classes, including Culinary Fundamentals and International Cuisine. He is currently Executive Chef at the Tournament Players Club, Valencia. His passion for cooking took him all over the country learning different cuisines and techniques. Ultimately, he settled in the culinary mecca of San Francisco and began his formal education. He graduated from the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, and, prior to arriving at the Tournament Players Club, he worked at highly acclaimed facilities such as the Hilton Hotels Universal City, Hyatt Hotel Corporation, A’sabellas, and Shanghai Reds Restaurant in Marina Del Rey. He loves to work with the basics and believes in using the freshest ingredients. His approach to creating a California eclectic dining experience relies heavily on using the finest quality products and farm-raised ingredients. His approach with each client is to work with their ideas, customize and put his artistic palette to every menu.


Michelle Razzano
Michelle is a graduate of Los Angeles Trade and Technical College where she earned an AA degree in Culinary Arts. She brings zeal, creativeness and experience and reaches out to those who want to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. She is also the chef/owner of LA-Trends Catering in Santa Clarita. Following her passion and love for food through entertaining, she opened her company in 1992 and continues to oversee staff, as well as implement new ideas that make her company thrive. She has been in the culinary industry for more than 25 years and has worked in many capacities throughout her career. She has cooked for numerous celebrities and sports figures as well as dignitaries including the Sultan of Brunei. She has also worked side by side on events with Chef Wolfgang Puck and Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle. She currently teaches Knife Skills.


Elizabeth Schweitzer
Elizabeth is the eighth woman in the world to receive the Master Sommelier title, is one of only 73 persons in the United States with the title and the only one in Los Angeles County. This is the wine and hospitality industry's highest and most prestigious credential. She was voted "Best Sommelier in California" by the California Restaurant Writers Association. She has worked in all faucets of the hospitality business, including The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Biltmore Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, L’Orangerie, and Wine of The Month Club, The Grand Hotel and The Village Green. Her forte is education and through her company “Wine, Wisdom and Wit” she teaches classes that cover the wine regions of the world, sensory evaluation, wine & food pairing, among a myriad of other topics, and consults at restaurants and country clubs. When asked how she knows so much about wine, she simply states, "I open a lot of books, a lot of bottles, and I love to cook." The message she emphasizes is that wine not be taken so seriously but rather as an integral part of everyday life. She, of course, teaches Wine Studies.


Thomas Yun
Thomas teaches Culinary Fundamentals classes. He attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, graduating with honors in 2002. Since his graduation, he has worked with such distinguished chefs as Bruce Yim of Vin Tabla Restaurant and Tim Goodell of Aubergine and Troquet. He joined the Fleming’s team in 2003 and was appointed Executive Chef Partner of the new location in Woodland Hills in 2005. In January of 2008, he followed his heart and was called to teach and train men in culinary skills and techniques at the Ventura County Rescue Mission where he currently serves as Executive Corporate Chef/Culinary Instructor.

College of the Canyons / College of the Canyons Foundation
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91355
College: (661) 259-7800 l Foundation: (661) 362-3434

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