The Café at Spruce Mountain is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for takeout meals. This beef stew was a recent menu item. Submitted photo

LIVERMORE FALLS — A new option for takeout lunches is available in the Tri-Town area.

The Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education culinary workforce program is operating The Café from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the adult education headquarters at 9 Cedar St. where the program’s classes are held. The cafe is closed when school is not in session.

The cafe opened Jan. 19.

Suggested donation for each meal is $5. Other donations are accepted to help cover the cost of locally-sourced ingredients.

The Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education Facebook page,, features the three menu options available for that day. People are encouraged to like the page in order to place their orders through private messenger. A link to a new ordering system will also be available on the page soon.

The new system will provide an emailed receipt of the order and provide additional training in taking orders for the program’s participants. Orders may also be made by calling 897-6406. Orders for that day must be made before 10:30 a.m.


Because of COVID-19, the culinary class was capped at three students but only one student is able to participate, Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education Director Robyn Raymond said in an interview Jan. 19. Instructor Wayne Kregling and student Patricia Fournier were also present.

There are in-class sessions Tuesday and Thursday and online learning from home Monday and Wednesday, Fournier said.

“It’s a challenge with what’s going on in the local school system, issues like child care, kids are remote,” Raymond said. “Fortunately, this worked out for Patricia. A few other folks who wanted to do this it was just too challenging of a time to go back to school right now unless it was fully online.”

“It’s an avenue I hadn’t explored yet,” Fournier said as to twhy she was taking the course. She has five children and 16 grandchildren which have provided her culinary experience for the program.

With Fournier the only student, Kregling is helping with food preparation, she said.

Chef Wayne Kregling, left, one of the instructors for the culinary workforce program offered through Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education, participates in the 2019 graduation ceremonies. Submitted photo

“We’ve partnered with a curriculum company that has nationally recognized certification,” Raymond said. “Patricia’s been learning about different cuts of meats, will get certification in that. She’s studying for the Serve Safe Manager exam. She’ll sit for that remotely as well.”


“We go through the professional cookbook too,” Kregling said. “How to make stocks, dressings, emulsions. There’s a lot of classical techniques that we’re going through. If you know how to make a veloute or béchamel, you can make a thousand different sauces from those two things.”

The first day’s menu featured an artisan cheese sandwich with fresh heirloom tomato soup, teriyaki grilled chicken breast and vegetable rice bowl or turkey Caesar salad.

The menu changes daily, Raymond said. The first week included stocks and soups to allow work on knife skills, how to make stock from scratch, she added.

“As we go through the course, the level of difficulty will increase, but the taste will be great throughout the whole thing,” Raymond said.

“The program has been going great so far,” Fournier said. “The most unexpected thing is actually learning all the different cuts and styles so far. I’m still waiting to learn how to peel a potato the right way — you’re supposed to peel away from you.”

“There are so many vegetable cuts, that’s one of the unexpected things I learned the first year we did this,” Raymond added.


“We made a decision, even last year when we did the food for this class,” Kregling said. “There is nothing bought already prepared.”

Raymond and Kregling donate eggs and vegetables with other ingredients purchased locally.

“You’ve got to pay more for local,” Kregling said.

Most former participants in the program have been able to find jobs in the industry. Raymond said graduates are now the head chef at Uno Mas in Farmington, chefs at the University of Maine at Farmington and Sunday River ski resort in Newry.

“Marla Burnell went on to open up her own food truck,” Raymond said. “She was parked in front of Ambition Brewing Thursday nights, was at Farmington fair. She did well to get her name out locally.”

“With this whole thing going on (COVID-19), most people are doing the work for themselves as opposed to hiring people,” Kregling said.


The culinary workforce program has partnered with Salt & Pepper restaurant in Wilton, Raymond said.

“It’s been great,” she said. “She’s (Mary Beane) taken students in for work experience, given them the lay of the land, what it’s like to work in a kitchen, not only work in a restaurant but what it’s like to own your own restaurant.”

The program also provides work ready skills such as resumes, cover letters and job interviews, Raymond said.

“Although we’re promoting local businesses, we’re not limiting students, saying you can do this on your own,” she said. “We’re always recruiting for people looking to work in the restaurant, hospitality industries.”

With limited class sizes last summer, Raymond was able to obtain grant funding to support the culinary workforce program.

“It’s important for us to put out meals to the community,” she said. “We acknowledge it’s a difficult time for everyone. If while training, a home-cooked meal can brighten someone’s day, we’ve done our job.”

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