By Deb Czech for Saratoga Farmers' Market
Watching chefs prepare elaborate meals, either in fancy restaurants or on action-packed TV cooking showdowns, has become a popular pastime in recent years.
Plenty of culinary talent was on display on Saturday, September 20, as local students showcased the skills they are learning in the Culinary Arts Program at the F. Donald Myers Education Center of the regional WSWHE BOCES in Saratoga Springs.
In conjunction with the Saratoga Springs City Center’s 30th anniversary celebration, the market and BOCES teamed up to host a cooking demonstration on the south lawn of the market in High Rock Park, near the municipal parking lot and Mouzon House restaurant.
The students worked under the direction of Chef Instructor Maureen Clancy, who is also the president of the Saratoga & Glens Falls Chapter of the American Culinary Federation.
“Our event last weekend at the market placed pairs of students at five separate cooking stations, and they were overseen by a professional chef,” explains Clancy. “The chef helped guide the students at each station as they worked to prepare a different menu item, using fresh market ingredients. Particularly at this time of year, with the summer crops merging with the the fall harvests, the market is brimming with possibilities.”
The Culinary Arts & Hospitality Program at BOCES implements an industry-based program that includes kitchen basics, safety and sanitation, purchasing and inventory control, customer service, and food and control cost. Students complete two years of instruction and pass national assessments during each year. Upon completion, the students are ready for careers in the hospitality industry and post-secondary opportunities.
Unlike some of the popular TV cooking competitions, the market’s demonstrations weren’t judged on Saturday. Students demonstrated different techniques and possibilities with ingredients throughout the market, including produce, dairy, meat and other items. Spectators asked questions and discovered where the different ingredients came from in the market, in case they wanted to try duplicating the dish at home.