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Dan Thiessen - Director of Culinary Arts
With 4 years of Culinary Instructor experience and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Dan has worked kitchens in Aspen, Switzerland, Idaho then on to Seattle where he was an opening Instructor under Chef Roland Henin at the Art Institute of Seattle for 3 years. Chef Thiessen's responsibilities included: assisting in development of the program; starting and coaching the competition teams and continuing as an advisor for the program. After teaching there he went on to hold the positions of Executive Chef; The Space Needle, Golf Club at Newcastle, Chandler's Crabhouse, Corporate Chef of Salty's Restaurants and then Chef/Owner of the 0/8 Seafood Grill and Twisted Cork Wine Bar. His experience in marketing includes his own "live call in" style radio cooking show for 5 years, numerous TV appearances as well as printed articles. Dan has been featured in local, regional and national publications for quotes, recipes, industry insights and tips, throughout his career. His background from the CIA, and working in Europe, has developed a firm foundation on the fundamentals of cooking as well as restaurant ownership, and a unique ability to teach culinary management and leadership skills to those interested in a career in the industry.
Greg Schnorr - Pastry Chef Instructor
A graduate of the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver Colorado. He also earned a Baking and Pastry Degree from the Culinary Institute of America in St Helena, California. Chef Schnorr has been the Head Chef at Creektown Café and Pastry Chef at Whitehouse Crawford in Walla Walla. Chef Schnorr is an active organic farmer and participant in the local farmers market
Robin Leventhal - Chef Instructor
Chef Robin has a passion for whatever she undertakes and teaching is no exception. She feels the classroom setting is an ideal place to inspire and engage students in their own culinary journey. While pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Michigan, Chef Robin realized her own passion for food. Before teaching at Wine Country Culinary Institute in Walla Walla, she taught at the New England Culinary Institute and Sea-Tac Occupational Skill Center. She owned and operated Crave on Seattles’ Capitol Hill and feels her Pacific Northwest roots are the foundation of her cooking, accented by flavors of her world travels.
In 2009 she was a cheftestant on Season 6 of Top Chef, a life altering culinary experience. Robin has been active with causes like Bristol Bay and Lymphoma research with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She also sat on the board for Slow Food Seattle raising awareness of the value of food and knowing where it comes from. Robin is a licensed auctioneer for fundraising events and continues to do select catering and winemaker dinners. Her move to Walla Walla has enabled balance in life, a challenge for any professional chef. Now there is time to get her hands dirty in the garden and studio before cleaning up to head into the kitchen and teach the inquisitive minds of her students.