By Hillary Haenes
After 33 years of teaching culinary classes at Bakersfield College, Pat Coyle, 60, will retire at the end of this school year. Although he’s looking forward to traveling and relaxing after retirement, Coyle seems excited for his last year in the kitchen of the Renegade Room, which is also where he learned his craft.
Coyle, family and consumer education department chair, will take many memories with him, including his proudest moment as an instructor — having his students win two food competitions over the last couple of summers. In fact, what he has enjoyed most throughout his career has been watching his students grow during the semesters from barely being able to hold a knife to food professionals who can run a food station.
If you haven’t had a chance to eat at the Renegade Room, then you should pay it a visit soon. Starting Sept. 18, dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and you can stop in for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays. Check out the Renegade Room’s menu on bakersfieldcollege.edu/renegaderoom.
First experience in the kitchen: With my mother making Christmas desserts for the family.
How often I cook at home: Two or three times a week in the summer, but not very often during the school year.
Cooking has been important to me because: Food service is the only business where you take raw ingredients and clean, cut, cook, serve and ask your guests for an evaluation of your product. What a rush!
One ingredient that I love to use in my recipes: Wine or lemon juice adds a clean taste to your product.
Must-have kitchen tool: A French knife.
Go-to cookbook: “The Professional Chef” by the Culinary Institute of America.
Everything goes better with: Butter or cream.
Always in the fridge: Stock that is either store-bought or homemade.
My disastrous kitchen story: We were doing a catering event for 500 people off campus and we forgot the sauce for one of the entrees. It was too far to go back to school and return in time for the service to start.
I often mess up: Yeast breads.
One of my cooking secrets: Organization of events.
I can never find: Equipment in the right place in the Renegade Room kitchen. My students do not put things back in their proper places.
My go-to ingredient: Montreal seasoning.
Spice cabinet must-haves: Salt and pepper.
How I find inspiration to create a new dish: Professional magazines and going out to dinner at different restaurants.
Ingredient that I avoid/dislike: Squid.
If I could spend a day with a fellow foodie, it would be: The local chefs because when we get together, the knowledge and the fun we have is priceless.
Advice I would ask him/her: How did you make that dish?
Worst food memory: At a chef conference, the food was so bad that you saw many chefs at the local fast food restaurants directly after the event.
Best culinary destination: Napa Valley.
Most expensive meal: Going out with other chefs — I prefer veal or lamb dishes.
I’m not crazy about: Fresh tomatoes.
Weirdest food I like: Stuffed cabbage rolls.
How I like my steak: Medium rare.
I’m addicted to: Blackberry ice cream.
When I eat fast food, the drive-thru I prefer is: all of them.
My comfort food: a plain Quarter Pounder with cheese.
My splurge at the grocery store: Chicken pot pies.
My favorite food discovery of 2012: Watermelon and heirloom tomato salad.
Piece of cooking equipment: Saute pan.
Local restaurant and my order: Uricchio’s veal shanks.
Family recipe: Gobs (whoopie pies) and walnut horn cookies.
Condiment(s) on my hamburger: None, it is always plain.
Breakfast: Eggs and sausage.
Dessert: Chocolate cake and apple pie.