Students, local chefs team up for finals feast

The Daily Star

April 1, 2014


wo college students may soon know the highly soughtafter recipes of Brooks’ House of BarBQ sauce as more than 50 students, who are enrolled in SUNY Cobleskill’s Culinary Arts Program, are set to work alongside successful local chefs and food experts this week, an organizer said Monday. Jo Anne Cloughly, associate professor and chair of the Culinary Arts Department at the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, said the college’s third annual Culinary Extravaganza will be held Friday at 6 p.m. in the SUNY Cobleskill Bouck Ballroom. The event will spotlight culinary arts students and celebrate community members involved in the culinary arts.

Guests will spend the evening sampling appetizers and entrees made by students from the college’s advanced foods course and savoring desserts made by the senior baking class, Cloughly said. A “huge, wonderful” display of miniature pastries is a highlight, she said, and there will also be beer and wine tasting featuring local spirits. Entertainment will be provided by The Sam Whedon Band.

“It is a tasting event, of sorts,” Cloughly said. “We’ll have something for everyone to enjoy.”

Goat, beef and fish used in the meals will come from SUNY Cobleskill’s farm, Cloughly said, which adds a special touch. Last year more than $12,000 was raised for scholarships in the culinary arts department, she said, in which more than 175 students are enrolled.

Cloughly said groups of two students were each paired with a local chef to mentor and help them prepare a meal for the event, with the Culinary Extravaganza serving as the final project. The pairs visited their respective mentors in advance to plan and put together a menu and will work together to execute the meal when the evening of the Extravaganza arrives.

Ryan Brooks, owner of Brooks’ House of Bar-B-Q , is one such mentor, and a member of the event’s advisory board, Cloughly said.

“He is a perfect example of a local entrepreneur who has been really successful,” she said.

Brooks said this is his second year involved with the event which, he said, he has loved being a part of. His students, Stanley and Priscilla, recently visited him at Brooks’ to decide which items they would prepare for the dinner.

So what made the final cut? Brooks’ specialties: Barbeque chicken, ribs, pulled pork, chicken spiedies, sirloin tips in garlic teriyaki sauce and the restaurant’s “famous” coleslaw, Brooks said.

The project and event will help the culinary students learn even more about food preparation, Brooks said, and will also help them see how businesses can work together to provide a “really nice social event” for the community.

“It’s one of the finest events I’ve been to,” Brooks said.

Cloughly said Jim Perillo, executive chef at the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown is another mentor, as are chefs from Albany-area restaurants and numerous SUNY Cobleskill alumni.

Tickets for the event cost $50 per person, Cloughly said, and can be purchased at the door.

More than anything, Cloughly said, the event serves as an important real-life experience for the culinary arts students.

“They love working with the local chefs,” Cloughly said. “In other years, some have even gotten job offers after the event! They have a great time with it.”