Wok 'n' Broil High School

In this Food Network era, many kids grow up wanting to be the next Tom Douglas instead of the next Michael Jordan. So says Michael Smith, director of the Washington Restaurant Association's Education Foundation, who has nurtured the CA$H Program (Career Advancement for Students of Hospitality), co-sponsored with the Washington State Hotel & Lodging Association, since its 2000 inception. Also in its fifth year, the Hospitality Invitational, a scholarship contest for high-school students enrolled in CA$H, takes place in Seattle this Sunday and Monday. CA$H students dedicate 360 classroom hours and 400 hours of work experience to culinary or hospitality education during their junior and senior years. Currently, 65 Washington schools, including Seattle's Roosevelt, Garfield, Rainier Beach, and West Seattle high schools, incorporate CA$H into their curricula. According to Smith, the program's goal is both practical and philosophical. "Our continual challenge is educating our young people not to think of the restaurant or hospitality industry as a transitional job, but to think of it more as a career path," he says. "I think we give [students] a very good overview of the industry." What's on the line this weekend? Nothing less than partial scholarships to prestigious culinary academies, including the Culinary Institute of America. Sunday's knowledge bowls at the Westin Hotel—hospitality (8 a.m. to noon) and culinary (1 to 5 p.m.)—are open to the public, as is the daylong kitchen segment at the Art Institute of Seattle (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.), though space is limited. Monday brings the final round of the knowledge bowl, starting at 8 a.m. Visit www.wrahome.com/education.html for more information.

Cheese Louise!

The first Seattle Cheese Festival is still over two months away, but cheese lovers need to start planning now if they're going to make the most of the two-day event (May 14–15). At Pike Place that weekend, it will be come one, come all for the biggest curdled-milk event ever in these parts, with free samples of cheese styles from Oregon, Wisconsin, England, and France as well as local producers. But if you want to get up close and personal with movers and shakers in the cheese scene, register now for a seminar ($15 for each session or $50 for the full line-up). Learn how the artisans source their milk, consider the pros and cons of raw vs. pasteurized milk, and meet people who are making waves in the world of cheese. There are also seminars for restaurateurs on putting together a flight of cheeses and match them up with wine. Space in the seminars is very limited, so act now. Learn all you need to know at www.seattlecheesefestival.com.

Now you see her . . . 

After only six months on the job, Jane Baxter-Lynn is leaving the twin posts of director of the Washington Wine Commission and of the Washington Wine Institute. Her departure is effective immediately, but there should be no disruption in services, because Washington Wine Month is already well under way, April's Taste Washington events are being run by the commission's veteran director of marketing, Jamie Peha, and Baxter-Lynn's predecessor as director, Steve Burns, has agreed to act as interim director. Baxter-Lynn always seemed an odd fit for the directorship, as her background was almost entirely in marketing, which is well under control with Peha, while a large and important part of the director's job is listening to and maintaining relations with the hundreds of wineries and scores of grape growers who form the organization's primary constituency.

Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at food@seattleweekly.com.

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