Gowanda-area students learn from distinguished chefs

HANDS-ON TRAINING — Junior Chancie Twoguns from Gowanda High School, far right, practices proper cutting techniques taught to her by Chef Arnym Solomon, trustee emeritus of the Culinary Institute of America, second from right, as two other students look on during an educational event in Angola on Feb. 2. Chancie is enrolled in the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES Culinary Arts Program at the LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia.
Students from the Gowanda area had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work beside three of the most distinguished chefs in the nation on Feb. 2 through a partnership between the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, ProStart, and the Culinary Institute of America, one of the most prestigious culinary colleges in the world.

A total of 15 students enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at the E2CCB LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia under the tutelage of Instructor David Caccamise, including those from Gowanda High School, traveled to Angola to take part in the event alongside more than 75 students from other E2CCB culinary arts programs. For three hours, they interacted with the chefs and watched them prepare a particular dish of their choosing, learning a variety of culinary principles in the process.

“It was a great learning experience for me, and getting to interact with the chefs and watch their demonstrations was a great opportunity. What I learned from the event will help me throughout my career in the culinary arts,” said Chancie Twoguns, a senior at Gowanda High School.

The three chefs who travelled to Western New York were Fritz Sonnenschmidt from Rhinebeck, N.Y.; Paul Prosperi from Goshen, Conn.; and Arnym Solomon from Clermont, Fla. They each had a distinguished career at the Culinary Institute of America and now spend much of their time traveling throughout the country teaching and inspiring the chefs of tomorrow.

Chef Sonnenschmidt once served as dean of the Culinary Institute of America and is a Certified Master Chef, the highest distinction a chef can earn in the U.S. As a member of the U.S. Culinary Olympic Team, Sonnenschmidt won gold medals at the International Culinary Competition in 1976, 1984 and 1988, and he was named the American Culinary Federation’s National Chef of the Year in 1994.

Chef Prosperi is a retired Culinary Institute of America pastry and baking arts teacher. He worked his way up at celebrated pastry shops, hotels, and restaurants in Paris, London and New York City before ending up as the executive pastry chef and pastry shop manager at the luxurious Essex House Hotel, and he has won numerous international awards.

Chef Solomon is a trustee emeritus at the Culinary Institute of America. His career includes executive management positions with an assortment of companies that operate some of the nation’s best-known restaurant chains such as the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and TGI Friday’s.

The event, entitled “Teaching With the CIA and Prostart,” was part of the Culinary Institute of America’s Ambassador Program. It took place at the E2CCB Carrier Educational Center in Angola and was organized by Rusty Furdell, Carrier’s culinary arts instructor. Working side by side with a select group of students chosen to assist the chefs, Sonnenschmidt prepared Hungarian sauerkraut with tilapia, Prosperi prepared passion fruit mousse, and Solomon prepared broccoli-infused Boston scrod with cream sauce. Students had the chance to sample the dishes following the hour-long demonstrations before rotating to the next.

The event was broadcast by the E2CCB Distance Learning Program in conjunction with the New York State Distance Learning Consortium, and so many other students from the LoGuidice Center, as well as students from other schools in Western New York, were able to participate as well via videoconferencing technology.

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