South Sound Community Wine Dinners

There is always a buzz when new upscale dinner options come along in Olympia. This fall the Percival Restaurant at South Puget Sound Community College started offering quarterly wine-paired dinners. The Percival is a venue for showcasing the advanced culinary artistry that students in the Culinary Arts program have developed.

The first wine-paired dinner took place on Nov. 16. In attendance were nearly 50 college and community members, including SPSCC President Tim Stokes. “I was beaming with pride for our students, chefs and culinary team,” he said. “They delivered a true gastronomic experience.”

The menu featured a triple cream brie, fresh wild king salmon, pomegranate key lime granita, Snake River Farms wagyu striploin and a chocolate cream tart. Among the featured wines were TruthTeller’s Viognier, Shea Wine Cellar’s Pinot Noir and Woodward Canyon’s Cabernet Sauvignon, bringing the flavors of the Yakima, Willamette and Columbia valleys to the event.

Professor and chef Scott McLean prepared the exclusive menu and pairings along with the students and catering staff. “They put together a fabulous paired dinner that rivaled the major food scenes in Seattle and Portland,” said program dean Val Sundby-Thorp. “We also want them to build their resume and experience so they can graduate and enter into the industry with relevant, exciting and professional experience.”

Before joining SPSCC’s program in 2016, McLean was the executive chef at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center in Walla Walla. His long career of opening restaurants and leading other chefs brings incredible value to the Culinary Arts program.

While the Percival Restaurant plans to continue its quarterly winepaired dinners (next dinner scheduled for Valentine’s Day), it is also open to the community for lunch from Monday to Thursday. The restaurant also offers special reservations, catering, and event and meeting space.


For additional information:
Percival Restaurant at SPSCC

The Experience at SPSCC

425 guests enjoyed a social hour with tastings from Sandstone Distillery and Heritage Distillery. The evening’s program highlighted SPSCC’s Health & Wellness Center, Culinary Arts, and the Art Gallery exhibition. A delicious dinner was the collaborative effort between the executive chefs at Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel and the SPSCC culinary program, providing an amazing opportunity for SPSCC culinary students. And the After Party was a rockin’ success, with Bella Strings providing its take on rock-n-roll with classical string instruments. The evening’s proceeds earned a record half a million dollars in support of student scholarships!

Tumwater’s Brewing Legacy Moves Forward

To understand the rapidly changing nature of the craft brewing and distilling industry, consider these statistics: First, a new craft brewery opens in Washington State every week. Second, Washington ranks third in the nation for the number of craft distillers. Finally, Washington State is the number one craft cider producer in the country. In fact, production cannot keep up with demand.

These statistics framed the conversation on Feb. 1 held at the historic Schmidt House in Tumwater as part of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s History Talks series. ‘Tumwater’s Brewing Legacy Moves Forward’ was the title of the talk and attendees heard from the City of Tumwater’s City Administrator John Doan, Communications Manager Ann Cook, and South Puget Sound Community College Dean Dr. Valerie Sundby-Thorp.

Doan, Cook, and Sundby-Thorp discussed how the City is bringing brewing back and they focused on three areas:  Growing the Industry, creating a Center for Excellence, restoring the community’s brewing heritage and landmark.

Develop an area to grow

Deschutes Landing is a light industrial area near the Olympia Airport in Tumwater and is home to South Sound’s newest craft brewing destination. Matchless Brewing and Triceratops Brewing both opened last year, and Tart Hard Cider recently joined the group. While an area zoned ‘light industrial’ is an unexpected place for craft brewing tasting rooms it is also a growing trend nationally. The City of Tumwater is doing all it can to encourage these craft breweries and help ensure their success With a marketing campaign for the “Warehouse District.”

Create a Center for Excellence

South Puget Sound Community College and a private developer are teaming up to create a new facility in an area located off Capitol Boulevard they are calling the ”Craft District.”. The College’s building is currently under construction, but when it is complete, hopefully in January 2019, it will be home to anchor tenant Heritage Distilling Company—known for their Brown Sugar Bourbon as well as an SPSCC campus devoted to craft brewing, cider-making and distilling classes and training. The State of Washington is contributing $500,000 to the project for classroom equipment. Students looking for an associate’s degree in brewing can attend classes there, but they’ll also open it up to the community for evening enrichment programs.

Restore our Brewing Heritage

The third leg of the brewing legacy stool is restoring the 1906 Brewhouse, a treasured landmark for the City and the community.  The State of Washington awarded the City a $506,850 grant from the State of Washington Heritage Capital Projects Fund and now the City must match $2 to each dollar of State funding. City staff are seeking major donors interested in reaching matching fund goal of $1.1 million.

Once the City reaches its funding goal, they can begin to renovate the structure. Future uses may include a restaurant and brewery. An artist’s rendering imagines a beautifully renovated Brewhouse surrounded by walking trails—whether this vision comes to fruition depends on funding and future investment.

With many partners and these industries, Tumwater is working to #BringBrewingBack.