When people think of culinary programs offered at New Hampshire’s more than two-dozen Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers, they likely think of skills related to food preparation, which only tells part of the story. “CTE helped prepare me for industry in many ways,” said Sarah Howland, who graduated from Concord Regional Technical Center’s Culinary & Pastry Arts program in 2015. “It helped me develop people skills and a sense of professionalism.”
Now Banquets and Catering Kitchen Manager at Fratello’s Italian Grille in Manchester, Howland said her experience in CTE was important because it gave her an idea of the restaurant industry itself. “CTE taught me to multitask and work efficiently in a fast-paced environment that can be stressful,” she said. “The program helped me grow as an individual personally and professionally.”
For Adam Parker, who will take over Culinary & Pastry Arts in the fall from Chef Bob McIntosh who has led the program for 20 years, Howland’s CTE experience is not necessarily unique. “I’ve been on the program’s advisory committee for the past three years and seen first-hand how CTE in general can shape a student’s perspective on their future,” he said.
This perspective is built on tangible life skills. “Culinary and Pastry Arts teaches the fundamentals of cooking and baking along with social skills, team building, and individual development within an overall progressive learning environment,” said Parker. “These lifelong skills build confidence, leadership, and a tenacious hunger for knowledge built on goal-oriented daily development.”
As former Director of Operations and Corporate Chef at Fratello’s, Parker also hosted Students-to-Work events and sponsored a culinary scholarship for SkillsUSA NH competitors. “I’ve hired students, some of whom now run their own kitchens,” he added. “In a state struggling to find people to work, CTE is a solution we can tap right now in hospitality and other industries across the state…Sarah’s experience is one of thousands of success stories statewide in a variety of CTE programs.”
Educating students from nine surrounding area high schools through programs that provide specific, career education in career pathways aligned with current and future employment needs, Concord Regional Technical Center (CRTC) is one of 28 CTE centers throughout New Hampshire.
On Tuesday, May 25, the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) will host an in-person Hospitality and Tourism Job Fair for the Southern New Hampshire region. It is an event particularly suited for high school students at any one of the state’s 28 Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers. “Now more than ever, our state’s CTE students are very valuable to the hospitality and tourism industry,” said NHLRA’s Amie Pariseau. “CTE students are passionate and ambitious. They can arrive on day one with skills in hand and the desire to learn more.”
As guidelines have lifted, she said NHLRA and the hospitality and industry itself are now faced with “the next crisis.” “It is no exaggeration that the industry is very short staffed, and people are very worried about being able to be open for their guests or burning out their existing staff,” she said.
Designed to provide high school students with experiential learning opportunities, often in real-world settings, the state’s CTE centers provide numerous programs with many directly connected to hospitality and tourism. “The hospitality and tourism industry is actively hiring,” said Pariseau. “While the opportunity to make good money has always been there, this summer looks to be one of the highest pay scale jumps we have seen in recent years.”
At the Job Fair, which is free, more than 3-dozen employers are expected in attendance. Registration is encouraged but not required. The Hospitality and Tourism Job Fair takes place at DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown on Tuesday, May 25 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Click here to register online, or contact Pariseau at 603.228.9585 or email@example.com for more information.
“Whether you are a student or someone looking at hospitality as a possible career path, the industry is a wonderful opportunity to gain responsibility, accountability, and customer service skills,” said Pariseau. “You can take these skills wherever you go in life.”
In March, dozens of students came together to compete in the categories of Culinary and Management at the New Hampshire ProStart State Invitational.
Mount Washington Valley Career & Technical Center (MWVCTC) won in the Culinary category while Pinkerton Academy took first in Management.
According to Amie Pariseau of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA), however, the story is not going to continue in the way everyone expected.
“Our first place winners were invited to compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington D.C. in May, but COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the regional and national invitational events,” she said.
All is not lost, though, noted Pariseau, who cited several rewards for the student.
“The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation will be providing a gift card worth $150 to each state’s first place culinary arts and restaurant management team members,” she said. The foundation will also be offering a $1,500 scholarship to the 2020 graduating ProStart seniors on each state’s winning teams.”
Acknowledging NHLRA shares in the disappointment of the teachers and their students in not being able to experience the Nationals and visit D.C., Pariseau said it does not lessen the students’ achievements.
“NHLRA is working with both schools of the winning teams to provide a way to celebrate their accomplishment with their team and families in some way this summer,” she said. “We’re very proud of them and want to recognize them for their commitment and dedication.”
This commitment and dedication, she said, led to “impressive performances at the ProStart State Invitational.
Kaylee, Jaime, Riley, Tristan and Sierra from MWVCTC created a menu that featured: an appetizer of crispy calamari and lemon served with harissa aioli and chermoula oil; an entrée of moroccan rubbed rack of lamb with pomegranate reduction, lemon-cilantro vinaigrette tossed with rainbow fingerlings, and sautéed vegetable hash; and a dessert of vanilla bean panna cotta served with grapefruit and brown sugar caramel and topped with spiced pistachios.
“They executed this high-level menu in 60 minutes using only two butane burners, no running water, and no electricity,” said Pariseau. “That’s incredible. We were very fortunate to have executive-level and ACF certified chefs as judges, all of whom said the caliber of the menus and the execution by our ProStart students was outstanding.”
In the management category, Pariseau said John, Lily, Angelina, and Matthew from Pinkerton Academy designed Wild Bamboo, an Asian restaurant devoted to the environment and sustainability.
Their menu featured a dumpling soup, bibimap (a Korean rice dish topped with beef sautéed vegetables and a fried egg), duck (statler duck breast seared with the skin on, paired with bamboo rice and a tat soi-mushroom sauce, beef (sliced flank steak sautéed with onions, served with a side of fresh vegetable), and a steam cake.
“The judges were highly impressed by their QR coupon code and the website they designed from scratch,” she said. “We were fortunate to have judges from all facets of the industry. Many of them were ready to hire our very talented students on the spot based on their ideas, creativity and presentation skills.”
Pariseau said competing students will also receive a variety of scholarships from Great Bay Community College, Lakes Region Community College, NHTI, White Mountains Community College, Johnson & Wales University and the Culinary Institute of America.
“Despite COVID-19, there are a lot of positive takeaways for the future from this year’s ProStart State Invitiatonal,” added Pariseau.
To learn more about ProStart, visit https://www.nhlra.com/nhprostart.html.
Students in Great Bay Community College’s hospitality management program will work side-by-side with wine professionals at Wine Expo NH, a festive wine-and-food event on May 2nd at Portsmouth Harbor Events Center in the Portwalk. This walk-around grand tasting will raise money for student scholarships.
Wine Expo NH will showcase hundreds of wines will all wines available to order at 15% off for 6 or more bottles. Seacoast chefs will be offering a New England cheese station, charcuterie station, dim sum station, pasta station, passed hors d’ouevres and more. The Zach Lange Trio will play also.
“I can’t say enough about what a high-quality and fun event this is and how much the students’ enthusiasm adds to it,” said event planner Michele Duval. “With hospitality such a large part of downtown Portsmouth’s economy, we are really lucky to have Great Bay Community College in our midst. Event sponsor Horizon Beverage is proud to support their efforts with student scholarship monies from this event.”
Dawn Comito, program coordinator of Great Bay’s Hospitality Management program, said the opportunity for students to learn from industry professionals is valuable because it offers real-world, practical experience.
The students who are primarily involved in the Wine Expo are taking a hospitality marketing and sales class. The expo is a perfect example of how a New England spirits, wine and beer distributor like Horizon builds long term business relationships, Comito said. “Food and beverage is such an important segment of the hospitality industry. By actively participating in this expo our students not only gain some hands-on experience in proper pouring and tasting techniques, but they’ll also have the opportunity to begin building their own professional network with others in the industry. They’re also learning how to apply many of the marketing and sales strategies they’ve been studying all semester by experiencing things like personal selling and branding in action,” she said.
Rachel Robillard, who will graduate from Great Bay’s Hospitality Management program next spring with an associate degree, said she and her classmates are “extremely excited” about Wine Expo NH. “My role will mainly be working alongside wine representatives in both serving wine and explaining variations in the different wines,” she said. “I’m excited to gain hands-on experience in serving wine to guests, and I am excited to meet all of the wine representatives and network with all of the other hospitality professionals.”
Join students from all over the state for a night of learning, baseball and fun! On Tuesday, April 17th at 4:00 pm, The New Hampshire Fisher Cats and the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association will host a Hospitality Industry Panel followed by a VIP behind-the-scenes stadium tour. The 6:35 Fisher Cats game tops off the day. Tickets are just $11.25 per person which includes a hot dog, a bag of chips and a 20-ounce beverage. For more information or to register your school, contact Stephanie Fournier at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 606-4105. Read more.