Student Perspectives: Creative Chefs in the Kitchen
Hello, I am Kyle Koehler. I am a senior in the Culinary Arts program at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC) and at Hanover High School. I am glad that I found this program. I started out wanting to run my own business and get better at cooking, and I am now more into the owning, menu planning, and costing out recipes.
I am Andrea Field, a senior in the HACTC Culinary Arts program and at Lebanon High School. When I first knew that I wanted to go in the culinary field, I knew I had to go to the HACTC and I’m glad I did. I came in set on becoming a pastry chef, and I’ll soon be leaving undecided between pastry and cooking.
Culinary Arts teaches the fundamentals of cooking. Some students attend this program to learn how to cook, others are considering being a professional chef and attend the program to explore careers in the Culinary Arts field, and still others hope to own their own restaurant someday.
Being in Culinary Arts can open many doors because of everything you can do with the experience and skills. You can become a chef, pastry chef, food blogger, food critic, food photographer, or nutritionist, among other careers. Both of us like coming to HACTC because we’ve been able to make new friends, and the program has been an awesome experience for us.
Culinary Arts is a two-year program. The first year is about many areas of service. Service starts in the kitchen with assembling orders. We serve guests in the fully functioning restaurant, “The Get-Away,” located on the first floor of the HACTC. We learn a variety of skills, such as safety and sanitation, knife cuts, plus customer service and interacting with community members.
The second year is more about preparing food for the restaurant and catering events. We are more independent with the jobs we are assigned. Sometimes we have to follow very specific preparation instructions. Other times we are given more choice, for instance if asked to make a type of soup we can research and choose the recipe we will prepare and serve in the restaurant.
We participate in the Hospitality Club to raise money to go on a class trip at the end of each year. Our biggest and best fundraiser is the Cookie Club, where we sell four different cookie doughs in November and December.
This program has given us so many opportunities for a future in Culinary Arts. Being a part of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Club is helping our classmates and us get to the places we want to go and do the things we love to do.