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Cooking Up Success: The Culinary Arts Program is Teaching the Next Generation of Chefs

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There’s a new restaurant on the scene in Burlington, and it’s located right here at BHS. Previously the Gourmet Cafe, the new Champlain Cafe serves up themed meals every Friday, and is open to reservations by teachers and community members.

The change came after a 2014 law which regulated the types of food schools could serve students. As a result, the restaurant changed to a sit down dining room, and is no longer able to serve students

Cheryl Niedzwiecki, know to her as students as Chef N, began her job as head of the program at the beginning of the year.

Niedzwiecki says that serving plated dishes teaches students “Texture, colors, what looks good together, and what tastes good together.”

The Culinary Arts program gives kids the tools they need to be successful upon graduation, such as opportunities for work co-ops and essential certificants such as ServSafe. But Niedzwiecki says that the program also gives students essential life skills.

“They’re learning about the industry, but they’re also learning valuable life skills,” said Niedzwiecki, who went on to say that students are also learning teamwork, self discipline, and time management.”  

Junior Eva Edwards Stoll has been in the program for five months. She started baking with her Mom when she was seven, and she’s been hooked ever since. For Stoll, the kitchen of the Gourmet Cafe was like a natural progression. In the time she has been in the program, she has noticed an improvement in her cooking

“Me and my Mom made duck over break, and it was really good!”

However, the food isn’t the only reason she enjoys the class.

“It makes me happy, and it makes other people happy,” Stoll said. “And that’s what the food industry is all about. Making the customer happy.”
William Pebbler is a paraeducator in the class. He has a history in the restaurant industry, and along with Niedzwiecki attended Culinary Institute of America.

“The biggest improvement is with self confidence.” Pebbler said. “Not only in what they’re doing, but in themselves.”

“I love baking” Stoll said. “I’ve been baking for a long time.”

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