The kitchen in the division of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Administration received a generous gift: renovations to the kitchen and bakery.
Most students know Cuddy Hall to have the Daily Grind, the commons area, the marketplace and Lucy’s Restaurant. But there is more than meets the eye that many students don’t get to see. Adjunct to Lucy’s is a professional kitchen with students busying around. They’re pushing carts and placing pans on the stove; there’s a classroom area prepared for class; a small area to make drinks and a sweet-smelling bakery with chocolate frosting in piping bags on the counter. These areas were under brief renovation through this past summer, thanks to a financial gift received years ago from Holland America Group.
The money gifted was originally going to be used for different renovations that have already been started, but the last few steps fell through. It was then decided to be used to benefit the students and program by upgrading the kitchen.
The upgrades include a new frontline with refrigeration underneath, hot steam wells to keep sauces warm and a double hot window so students can keep the plates warm before serving.
The bakery got rid of an “archaic” oven, freeing up space, and received a new, double-stacked convection oven, a remodeled cooler and freezer. It also had floors, doors and seals replaced and a new coat of paint.
“We just gave it this much-needed face-lift,” Naomi Everett, interim chair and associate professor, said. “It’s far more modern.”
Everett said that the new renovations will allow culinary students to learn with the types of kitchens that would be used in today’s facilities.
“If we can better the kitchen, then the education and how they’re learning — if it can replicate what they’re going to be seeing in the industry — is going to be a lot better,” Everett said.
The division is doing well, she also said. They just finished a fundraiser and have started up the bakery cart again. The cart is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9 – 11 a.m., right in front of Lucy’s inside Cuddy Hall. The bakery cart offers fresh baked goods from cupcakes to croissants to macaroons for a few dollars.
Sarah Cook, a junior in the culinary arts program, said she has been enjoying her years as a chef-in-training.
“[My favorite part] has been learning — just learning everything I didn’t know before,” she said.
The culinary students do seven-week intervals of learning the kitchen and cooking side, then learning the baking side so they’re fully immersed and focusing on one area before switching to the other.
Tasha Quiett, senior student, has been able to put her learned skills to work as the lab assistant.
“I’ve really loved getting into the world of baking. I started wanting to cook and ended up in baking,” Quiett said. “I’ve enjoyed using what I’ve learned to teach other students what I love.”
Students get to create a menu and serve diners at Lucy’s, which is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch. They accept walk-ins, but reservations can also be made at OpenTable.com.