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Faculty & Advisory Committee

Chef Martin Victor Hahn

Chef Martin Victor Hahn, CCE, CCC, is part of a five generation restaurant family. Grandson of famed Seattle restaurateur Victor Manca he prepared his first professional recipe, house vinaigrette, at the age of eight for Grandpa at Manca's Café. His pay was one dish of lime sorbet. Chef Martin worked his way through college as a chef and assistant manager of various restaurants for another famed Seattle Restaurateur Ivar Haglund. In 1963 as an eighteen year old assistant to Head Chef Robert Lam he participated in the only national American Culinary Federation conference ever to be held in Seattle. He has had a stint working in the public school system, work with Fritz Streff of Chez Panisse, studied at The Culinary Institute of America's Greystone School, worked with French Chef Michel Gerard and TV chef Graham Kerr. He opened a small Bistro of his own in the mid-1970's. His Black Swan Café has been labeled by many local food critics as a pioneer of Northwest Cuisine. Chef Hahn was one of the first to use and promote fresh local products prepared with classical-based principles. He helped in the 1970's to introduce the use of Penn Cove Mussels, local Chanterelles and Morels, locally raised grass-fed beef and the purchasing of products directly from the local farmer. His pioneering work resulted in local and national recognition. He was voted a top chef of Washington State in 1990 by The Seattle Weekly, received a "Best of 1988" award from Food and Wine magazine, was one of three chefs featured in Bon Appetite's 1986 story on "Northwest Cuisine" and has had articles or recipes published in Gourmet and "La Cucina Italiana" magazines.

Since 1996 Chef Hahn has been an instructor and co-department head at Skagit Valley College's Culinary Arts Program where he has mentored and coached numerous students to individual and team culinary medals. During his teaching tenure he has received two "Exceptional Faculty Awards" and in 2000 received the prestigious NISOD award as Technical/Professional teacher of the year.

Chef Instructor Dani Cox, CWPC, CCC, CCE

Chef Cox has 30+ years experience in the restaurant, banquet, and baking industry including quantity food production and small specialty baking establishments.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Food Service Systems Management from Central Washington University with an emphasis on Nutrition and is a graduate of Western Culinary Institute.  She has owned her own bakery specializing in a wide variety of breads, pies and classic pastries.  She has attended the CIA at Greystone focusing on Plated Desserts, The World Pastry Forum and National Pastry Competition, studying under world renowned pastry chefs.  As a certified member of the ACF and coach of the Skagit Valley College Culinary Knowledge Bowl Team, she has attended several ACF and NRA conventions.  This has provided her the opportunity to attend educational symposiums and industry skills workshops.  She has twice been honored with the Skagit Valley College "Exceptional Faculty Award" for special projects in curriculum development.  These experiences and ongoing opportunities allow her to bring current skills and knowledge to the classroom.

Chef Cox shares CAHM Department Chair responsibilities with Chef Hahn for curriculum development and review, program evaluation, budget requests, student counseling and evaluation, grant proposals and overall supervision of instruction. 
Lab instruction responsibilities include curriculum development and application in the general areas of Sanitation, Baking, Pastries, Banquet Lab, Cost Control, and Sous Chef Management courses.  She is the advisor for students in the Culinary Arts Hospitality Management program, is CHEF Club Advisor, and coach of the Knowledge Bowl Team.

Suzanne Butler

I learned to cook professionally at Barkley's, a fine dining restaurant in La Conner.  That included being the kitchen manager, lunch and brunch cook, and dessert chef.  After 4 years there I bought my own business, Red Bread Deli and Catering.  Red Bread was a soup and sandwich deli, specialty foods shop and wine store.  Catering was central to that business from which I catered many business events, community events, weddings and special small meals.  At the point where I needed to grow or go, I met and went to work for Graham Kerr.  I became his cooking assistant and did the food production for over 250 television shows and about 500 National Cancer Institute television spots.  I helped test, wrote the recipes, edited, and produced the nutritional numbers for 7 cookbooks.  Graham has pretty much retired from television, but I still work with him on special projects and answer his food fan mail.  When we weren't doing television, I managed the Mount Vernon Farmers Market for which I wrote a newspaper column with recipes.  From that experience I am able to help source fresh local foods for the culinary arts department and set up farm visits for our students.  I wrote makeover recipes for Lifescan One Touch Gold, the Johnson and Johnson website for diabetics for several years.

Lyn Highet — Food Services Manager 3

Lyn Highet has served 25 years in the food services industry — 18 years as co-owner/baker/decorator of a full service scratch bakery specializing in custom cakes.  She is the current co-owner of a local pub style eatery.  For the past six years Lyn has been with SVC and involved in food service delivery as well as the culinary program with an emphasis on sharing industry experience , especially in the area of cake decorating.  Lyn has 15 years of involvement with Skagit Valley College Culinary Arts Advisory Committee.