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Recipe for Success: Culinary Students learn from Cornell


OCM BOCES + Cornell University Dining = A Recipe for Success

For the second year in a row, four representatives from Cornell Dining traveled to OCM BOCES' McEvoy Campus in Cortland to take part in a continuing partnership with Chef Lori Rossi's Culinary Arts class. The result: a culinary masterpiece of fresh pasta and chicken parmesan, as well as fresh oven-roasted tomato sauce and cello basil leaves as a garnish.

Chef Timothy Oltz of Cornell Catering, Chef Steven Miller, Matthew Johnson, and Harry Ashendorf made the trip to work with the class of 18 high school seniors from Homer, Cortland, McGraw, DeRuyter and Cincinnatus.

"This type of event is to gain new pathways for finding local employees of the future," said Chef Miller, Cornell Dining's director of culinary operations.

The group planned and prepared a full meal of pasta and chicken parmesan, both from scratch, as well as oven-roasted tomato sauce and the garnish of cello basil leaves.

"Not bad for one and a half hours of prep and service time," Chef Miller said.
In another training session with Cornell, the same culinary seniors gained skills and practical knowledge by traveling to Cornell’s Robert Purcell Dining Hall in January. The students, under the guidance of the Cornell chefs, prepared homemade pizza, roasted vegetable salad, tossed salad and a variety of cookies, all from scratch. Members of the Cornell Dining services management community were invited to join the seniors at their abundant lunch feast.

”This was so much fun!” said Savannah Brewer, a Cortland senior. “There was so much food, and the chefs were great to work with!”

“Having a partnership with Cornell opens doors of opportunities for the students,” Chef Rossi said. “The students will have more choices and options when they graduate.”
The students were also introduced to Cornell Dining's Hospitality Apprenticeship Program (HAP), which offers a several-week rotation program that finds participants from area college career centers, community employment agencies, and career programs like BOCES. This unique experience is designed to assist recent graduates - or new career seekers - to build the skills and knowledge necessary to join and build a future with Cornell Dining. Currently, two of Chef Rossi’s former graduates are attending the program.

Photos and story contributed by Chef Lori Rossi