August 19, 2022

Inspired to Cook

Inspired to Cook

By Ashley Smallwood, Culinary Arts;

At the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC), there is a program called Culinary Arts for all the people who want to become chefs, bakers, or just work in the food service industry. Growing up I would always make goodies with my grandma, and that’s what inspired me to go into the cooking/baking industry. My gram and I always made popcorn balls for halloween and chocolate covered strawberries. The things we made the most were brownies, of course. This one time we tried to make chocolate covered bananas but that was just a bad mistake waiting to happen. My gram is definitely the reason I have a love for cooking and baking.

Culinary Arts at the HACTC is so much more than cooking with people from different schools or from your own school. This program has heart, and I think it has so much heart because of our teacher Chef Patrick Gobeille. He is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had in my 11 years of schooling. The way Chef teaches is different than any other teacher I’ve had before. The way he connects with each and every student is just touching. Chef is the kind of person where every kid is his favorite in their own way. He is the type of guy where you can count on him for things that aren’t school related and he will always have your back no matter what.

In Culinary Arts we have classroom time and kitchen time. Classroom time is when we work on math and chapter work, or when Chef teaches us his lesson plan. Everything we do in the classroom in some way gets incorporated into the kitchen. Kitchen time is fun, but also serious time. Everything you do in the kitchen you have to make sure you’re doing it safely. When Chef asks us create our own recipes or make something, in the middle of doing it I often will have the ah-ha moment where I realize what I’m doing has to do with what I learned that week in the classroom. We also have a restaurant to run throughout the school year. The restaurant side of things is something I was really nervous about in the beginning of the year but, as we went on, I got a lot more comfortable with it. Now It’s something I really enjoy.