Former Clare-Gladwin Career Center student Christopher Buzzelli returned to the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Culinary Arts program this month to demonstrate what he’s learning as a current student at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY.
Accompanied by another classmate from the Institute, the 2011 Beaverton High School grad prepared a fall-themed dish for the current CTE Culinary Arts students, including pumpkin bread with squash and potato puree soup served in a bowl made from an apple. Buzzelli also discussed the rigor of the Culinary Institute of America and many culinary-related techniques.
Buzzelli’s interest in the culinary field began in high school. His senior year at Beaverton High was spent in the Culinary Arts program through the Clare-Gladwin Career Center, where he received the training needed to earn his ProStart Certificate. According to the National Restaurant Association, the ProStart certificate is an industry-recognized certificate that signifies a strong foundation in the basic management and culinary skills considered critical to success by industry leaders.
“Since I completed certain requirements of the ProStart program, I was able to get a special $2,500 scholarship from the program’s sponsor, the National Restaurant Association,” he said.
As he approached the conclusion of his high school career, Buzzelli began looking at culinary schools to attend following graduation. “My first mentor was an alum of CIA and it always stuck out to me as being the Harvard of cooking colleges,” he said. “After a visit with my father, I was really sold that I couldn’t settle for anything less.”
Since then, Buzzelli has thrived at the Institute. “I enjoy using food as a medium to express myself,” he said. “The culinary field is very hands-on and there is great diversity, so every day brings a new challenge. At the end of it all, you get to bring joy to people.”
Buzzelli recently completed an externship at the Roaring Gap Club, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. According to Buzzelli, the club is a “summer retreat for some of the South’s wealthiest families. It was a great experience to spend the summer in that area and a great learning experience to hone my skills and test my abilities to cook.”
Scheduled to graduate this May, Buzzelli hopes to land a job in kitchen management and develop as a chef. Eventually, he’d like to run his own restaurant.
Buzzelli encourages students interested in the culinary and hospitality industry to participate in the CTE program. “If your passion is sincere, then it is important to get all of the knowledge you can in that field,” he said. “Take advantage of the opportunities provided to you; CTE is a good opportunity.”
The Culinary Arts program is one of nine Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs offered to local high school juniors and seniors through the Clare-Gladwin Career Center. Students spend half of their school day in their CTE program and the other half at their local high school.
For more information, please visit www.cgresd.net.