The Culinary Arts Program at Lewiston Regional Technical Center, taught by Mr. Dan Caron, and Ms. Katrina Liguori, has totally changed our lives and our perspective of school. This program includes students from schools all over Maine, including Auburn, Lewiston, Sabattus, Lisbon, Poland, and Turner. In this class we have learned that once you have found something you love, it’s easy to stick with, and no matter what you are working on it’s fun. For the most part every student loves the time they spend in this class. You can always tell when the kids enjoy the class, when they show up everyday even when they are sick. But to all of our restaurant customers and catering jobs …we make sure our sick ones don’t work on the food. And why not show up, between our open house, the cooking show, the restaurant, and all of our catering jobs, we have so much to prepare that the time just flies by.

Our class has become a little cornerstone in Lewiston/Auburn, with over five hundred citizens showing up for our open house. We expect to have to turn people away this year for our restaurant, so make sure you book far in advance to obtain a seat. Same goes for our catering jobs too. Just this year we have already been forced to refuse more than seventy-five percent of the customers who have come to us with jobs.

As you can see we are very busy and it’s not all fun and games. We have so many lesson plans and projects that need to be completed throughout the year that it is surprising we even fit any catering jobs into our schedules. For instance we plan our own gourmet night, we have a cooking show, and we also have to prepare a video presentation. Gourmet night itself takes at least a month and a half to prepare. The preparation includes a seven course meal, invitations, food cost, and decoration.

Each group has about five kids, and we all prepare the night ourselves. Our cooking show is on local cable channel nine. It is hosted by either Mr. Caron, or Ms. Liguori, accompanied by one of their students. The students video presentations which need to be at least five minutes long and must consist of us preparing our “specialty” meals which vary throughout the class. We also host the annual Chili Chowder contest for the chefs of various restaurants in the Lewiston/Auburn area. All of the proceeds made from this contest fund Longley Elementary School. Last year the proceeds were estimated at $5,000.

With all these activities going on we barely have room to pull it all off. Our goals are to expand the program and the curriculum. Hopefully, in the next few years, we will be able to move to a new building to better fit the needs of the students and the program. Even though the seniors are not going to be here when we might potentially get the new building, we are still excited to see what the future holds for our program.

When the students leave this program, at least eighty percent of us go to college to further study culinary arts. Some of the colleges that the students attend are Central Maine Community College, University of Southern Maine, Johnson and Whales University in Rhode Island, The Culinary Institute of America, etc… Part of the eighty percent may not go to college but will go on into the cooking field after they finish high school. In all, this class has really changed my school experience tremendously. We all love this program!!

The restaurant known as The Green Ladle Cafe is on Goddard Road in Lewiston. The restaurant is open by reservations only, 11 to 12:30 on Wed., Thurs. and Fri. All foods are prepared by the Culinary Arts students.

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