Usually a high school student can expect some pamphlets and maybe a free pencil for attending a college presentation. But Culinary Arts students at The Tech Center got a cooking lesson to boot when representatives from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park came to visit them on the campus of Putnam Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services this week.
“Who knows what gravlax are?” asked Chef Bruce Mattel from the CIA. When he didn’t get a lot of answers, he began a cooking demonstration with full participation from the students. Of course he also told them what gravlax were — cured Nordic salmon. Actually, students helped him finish the recipe, which takes two weeks to prepare.
“At the CIA, you’ll learn not only how to create recipes, but also why you’re doing what you do to make the,” said Chef Bruce. “I could tell you to chop up 10 pounds of asparagus for a recipe, but if I don’t tell you why, then you’re just replicating a recipe, not creating one. That’s what you’ll learn at CIA—creating.”
Chef Mattel, a CIA graduate himself who owned his own catering business before joining the CIA staff 13 years ago, told students that cooking in the real world is hard work. “That’s why you have to love it,” he said. CIA Director of Admissions Michael Brown was also on hand to answer questions from students.
“We’re visiting the CIA in January,” said Tech Culinary Arts teacher Chef Jenn Guiffre, “and now that the students have heard from Chef Bruce, they’re even more excited about going!”
Chef Bruce Mattel from the Culinary Institute of America, tells Culinary students at The Tech Center about the nuances of cooking they’ll learn if they choose CIA. Courtesy Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES