OHIO VALLEY — Students from the School of Culinary Arts at Hocking College in Nelsonville were busy with preparations for their final exam last Friday morning. As the students chopped vegetables and stirred sauces, their instructor looked on.
Certified Culinary Instructor Clarence Steadman has been teaching students for 25 years at Hocking.
“Its amazing to see the growth of the students and to know there are still students who are focusing on the skill and craft of culinary arts,” Steadman said.
As the students continued to prepare their dishes, Steadman noted their technique, style, sanitation and organization. The students are given a maxim of ten points for each; a passing grade in preparation is 35 to 40 points.
After the dishes are complete they are passed onto a panel of judges who evaluate the food for taste.
Hocking’s focus is job based training; upon graduation, students have the necessary skills to begin practicing their craft. Culinary Arts curriculum also includes English composition, computer skills, environmental science, organization and catering and banquet management.
“We want students to care about the craft,” Steadman said, “But also about the business, the service industry. Students need to be ready to work not only as chefs, they also need to know how to run a business.”
Student projects are now on display outside the kitchen area. With cooking and clean up complete, the students wait outside the office of Alfonso Contrisciani, Academic Dean of Hospitality, for their results.
Contrisciani is passionate about his work at the college and understands the importance of hands on experience for the students. Having worked in all areas of the food industry, he brings his numerous talents to the Hocking hospitality program.
An avid farm to table advocate, Contrisciani uses as much local produce as the season permits and prefers artisan grown products to factory grown. Currently the college is moving forward with farm to school programs and food preservation.
Two of the students waiting for Constrisciani were Sarah Burchett and Jack Kitchen. Both students are from Rutland and graduated from Meigs Local High School, Burchett in 2012 and Kitchen in 2013.
The results of the grading were finally announced. All students testing that day, including Burchett and Kitchen passed. A collective sigh of relief could be heard as the new chefs walked out of the kitchen at Hocking College and into the world of culinary arts.