Culinary school rocks
Micheal Iles is putting his chef’s apron back on.
Iles, remember fans, is the former director of the Butte Culinary Academy and its restaurant in the old Selvester’s Café at Chico State University, which was unceremoniously closed last June by the Private Industry Council amid budget cutbacks.
A deal brokered in August with a local man, the parent of one of Iles’ former students, fell through, and Iles is no longer opening a cooking school at the former Sin of Cortez site on West Fifth Street.
Instead, Iles has partnered with Robin Wallace-Stout, a Durham caterer who had worked at now-closed Cory’s Sweet Treats and Gallery, to open a breakfast and lunch spot at 265 Humboldt Ave., in a building belonging to Greg Tropea, a Chico State philosophy professor and owner of Humboldt Studios.
Iles said the Culinary Academy and Café already has most of the necessary permits and should be open in a couple of weeks. Besides outside catering, the restaurant will feature “great quality, homemade food.”
Classes will start in March.
Who would’ve guessed?
Of all the rumors about what could go into the old Oser’s/Sports LTD building at 240 Main St., I don’t think anyone guessed an antique mall.
But that’s what couple Jerry Brewster and Mary Nieland of Paradise are doing. They negotiated a deal with property owner Wayne Cook, who Brewster said “bent over backwards” to help them get into the 15,200-square-foot building. “He came down on everything and made it work,” he said.
When I met the couple, Brewster, a general contractor, was wearing a tool belt and Nieland was holding a paint brush. They’ve already torn out some wood slats and Sheetrock to reveal the original Oser’s display cabinets and drawers.
That they ended up in such a historic setting is fitting, say the pair, who already have 10 vendors lined up for the store they’re calling Attic Treasures Chico.
The focus is antiques, fine arts and collectibles—not all of them new. Antique-hunters may know Nieland from Attic Treasure in Paradise, which she has owned for 10 years.
While checking out a crawl space, Brewster discovered old bottles, which the couple speculates were stowed there during Prohibition. Both remember shopping at Oser’s in their youth. In fact, in the late 1960s, Nieland earned her high-school clothes by modeling for the local department store.
It’s unlikely they had vinyl siding at mobile hospitals during the Korean War, but Gary Burghoff, who played Radar O’Reilly on M*A*S*H, was so impressed by Selig Construction’s product that he’s now the company’s official spokesman.
“We weren’t out searching for a celebrity,” said owner Scott Selig. “He came and wanted to meet with me. He wanted to represent one local company, and he picked us. He has a lot of integrity. [When we talked] it was like I was being interviewed.”
The arrangement comes at a good time, because six months ago Selig decided to “literally hang up our phones” and stop cold-calling potential customers, Selig said, in part because of changing laws but also due to “negative connotations” of telemarketing and his belief that the product could stand on its own reputation.
Burghoff, who usually lends his name only to the arts, the Boys & Girls Club and animal welfare, is being compensated for his work on the Selig campaign.