CCTI chef implements ideas from national convention
Chef Anthony “A.J.” Burke, a culinary arts instructor at the Carbon Career & Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe, spoke to the CCTI Joint Operating committee about his trip to the 2022 American Culinary Federation National Convention held in Las Vegas this past July.
Burke spoke about the various programs and presentations he attended, and he spoke about some webinars, Zoom programs, and in-person demonstrations he has planned for his students.
“One thing we learned about was C.H.O.W., which stands for Culinary Hospitality Outreach Wellness,” Burke explained. “This is our form of mental health in our industry. They will be doing a mental health awareness program for our students in October, January, and the end of the school year, to talk about mental health awareness, time management, addiction, and other topics.”
He also met Petty Officer Sally Madison, a culinary specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard in California, who will do a Zoom session for the 11th and 12th grade students.
Another Coast Guard culinary specialist from New Jersey will come to the school, talk with students, and do a culinary demonstration.
Other projects in the works include a program on food photography, visits from several different culinary arts schools to CCTI, and a new text book.
“I ran into ATP Publishers, and the book ‘Culinary Math Principles and Applications’ while at the conference,” Burke told the committee. “This book will be downloaded into Google Classroom within the next week, then our students will spend half a day on culinary math, and the other half with me.”
“One very important program I attended was called Future of Culinary Education. The pandemic has crippled our industry. To get it going again, some people are focusing on quantity rather than quality. We don’t want to put out quantity, we want to put out quality. We don’t want to destroy our business, our industry again. We’re done with the pandemic. We need the quality to bring it back.”
Accompanying Burke at the CCTI meeting was Ashley Little, a culinary arts senior at CCTI, from the Panther Valley School District.
“We did hit the ground running this year,” Little told the committee. “First, we started discussing all about the restaurant, how we’re going to open it, and how we’re going to run it. We are keeping the buffet style, and we are attempting to open it more to the public, so we have a couple more days than we did last year.”
The school’s restaurant, Harvest Cafe, is open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. one day a month: Oct. 7, Nov. 4, and Dec. 2 and 16. Reservations are required. Call 570-325-3682, extension 1023 for reservations.
Little also told the committee about a webinar they attended from the American Culinary Federation, a program that instructed them on the certifications and qualification needed to reach the master chef classification.
“We have students working now to qualify for the Junior ACF memberships. I believe this furthers our education and gives us a foot through the door going into the workforce,” he said.