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  • Writer's pictureBob Thomas

Chef’s Best – Culinary Arts at GST BOCES

I could be a Chef, at least that is what I tell myself after bingeing Food Network for hours on a lazy Saturday afternoon. To be honest, it has always been a dream of mine to work behind the line. So far, assisting with plating for catering events, setting up, breaking down and bussing tables is as close as I have come.

A real Chef isn’t made on the couch. They are made in the kitchen and in the classroom. Luckily for us, we have the best of both for young students. Many cooks and chefs in the Twin Tiers got their start in high school, attending classes in the kitchen through the Career and Technical Education Program at GST BOCES. Hands-on education, taught by first class culinary experts.

Ryan Anderson is a Culinary Arts Teacher for GST BOCES Bush Campus in Elmira. Like most of us, his love for cooking started early in life, “My interest for culinary stemmed from going to my grandparents for holidays when I was young. Sitting at their counter and watching them cook. The best was when I got to help,” Anderson said. “From there I went through the Culinary program at GST BOCES.”

His Culinary journey was only just beginning. Anderson went on to earn a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and Foodservice Management from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

Now Anderson gets to share his knowledge with students in the Culinary Arts program, grooming the next Best Chefs in our Region, “I most enjoy being able to share my knowledge and experience in the Culinary field with students and watch them grow and develop their own ways of completing the skill,” Anderson said. “Sometimes they even teach me something new!”

From the front of the house to the back; students in the Culinary Arts program are taught it all, “Students learn a wide gamete of culinary and baking skills,” said Anderson. “We start with the basics such as knife skills, stocks, soups, and sauces. Then build from there and cover salads, sandwiches, breakfast cookery and complete more composed dishes.”

With the skills learned, students have a variety of opportunities available to them upon completion of this program. According to Anderson, “Students are prepared to go right out into industry and work as line cooks, prep cooks, restaurant host/hostess, event planner, food service manager and culinary instructor.”

“Several of the students who went through the program are now located throughout the country working in hotels, resorts, and bakeries,” said Anderson. “One former student is a teaching assistant in the culinary program and can continue her passion of passing on what she learned to future classes.”

You can find Culinary Arts’ graduates cooking in some of the Chef’s Best kitchens right here at home. Check out this impressive list of restaurants; The Cellar Restaurant, Elmira Country Club, Hilltop Inn, Tanino’s, Seneca Harbor Station, The Harbor Hotel, Tioga Downs, and so many more.

The GST BOCES Culinary Arts program has credentials. It is aligned with National Restaurant Association standards and based upon curriculum from ProStart which is through the NYS Restaurant Association Education Foundation. GST BOCES was also one of only 27 schools to win a grant from the Rachael Ray Foundation to further expand the tools and experiences we can bring to students.

Students who complete the program can continue their education at some of the finest culinary institutions in the country. The Culinary Institute of America, Paul Smith’s College and the National Restaurant Association all accept classes completed through the Culinary Arts Program at GST BOCES, thanks to Articulation Agreements in place; and there are many more schools on that list.

Any high school student interested in becoming a chef should talk to their high school guidance counselor for more information about the Culinary Arts Career and Technical Education Program at GST BOCES. Information can also be found by contacting one of the three GST BOCES Campuses. Please visit this webpage for contact information:

Best Chefs start right here at home, thanks to the Culinary Arts Program at GST BOCES.


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