Our Food, Our Way

Maybe it’s the outstanding fare our culinary arts students prepare every day. Maybe it’s having a bistro, and now a café and general store, open on campus. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is rolling around. Whatever the reason, I can’t get food off my mind.

Food brings us together – from gatherings with friends and family to on-campus dinners for with members of our community. I am lucky to attend many of both. We eat well here at SUNY Cobleskill. Our campus cooks and bakes like few can. You might say I eat like a president.

I think food at Coby is a theme that runs deeper than this. Yes, our students and faculty whip up delicious meals and, yes, many of the ingredients in those meals come as a result of the hard work we put in here on campus. But it’s how we think about food and use it to strive for excellence in our learning that I find most impactful.

This month is the 7th annual Culinary Extravaganza, one of my favorite nights on the calendar not just for the food (which is great) but for the opportunities our students have to work alongside accomplished professionals in their field. I talk all the time about experiential learning and living laboratories. This is it, in delicious action. I cannot stress enough that of all the projects Coby students complete, there is something special about being able to taste a finished project.

Earlier I mentioned Thanksgiving. We don’t get to late November without first celebrating Halloween — a holiday about which Chief of Staff Amy Healy reminds me every year. On that note, this year our Culinary Arts students will be baking and selling Halloween sugar cookies on campus October 17 and 18. I always look forward to their baking, perhaps because I’ve produced some spectacularly unremarkable results trying to replicate it. They must have secret Halloween recipes. Maybe they keep them under lock and key in the scariest, most terrifying location around town: Chief of Staff Amy Healy’s house.

Many of you I’ve talked to since Homecoming and Family Weekend are thrilled with the Carriage House Café and General Store. Count me among you. For many of the same reasons I love the Culinary Extravaganza, I am hard-pressed to think of a better, tastier way for our students to put their education into practice.

There is one more subject I am addressing, and I think it is not only timely but also the most important topic in this month’s post. Combatting food insecurity is something to which our College is devoting its full efforts. While we are about creating educational opportunities, and thrive on the dedication of our students, students should never face the choice of putting gas in the car to get to class or eating dinner. It just doesn’t work. This month and every month I invite you to be on the lookout for dedicated links on our website, and help our community conquer this epidemic that impacts college students across the nation.

What I love most about food at Coby is this: when it’s all about the food, it’s all about us. Our ingredients, our flavors, our educators, our students, our facilities, and our events. It is a point of pride. I wouldn’t have it any other way.