Matt Bolton: Changing lives

Matt Bolton’s evolution from culinary student to adjunct professor to instructor of Culinary Arts has been in sync with the transformation of SUNY Adirondack’s Culinary program.

When he was a student at the college, he was taught with a few other students crammed in the college cafeteria. When the department moved its classes to a small Bay Road restaurant, he became an adjunct professor. And, when the college opened Seasoned, the top-of-the-line educational facility and restaurant in downtown Glens Falls, Bolton was among those leading the charge.

“We have helped the program grow drastically,” Bolton said. “Moving downtown really opened it up for a lot more changes.”

Early in his career, Bolton experienced great success at Friends Lake Inn, earning national recognition for his work there. Being an educator wasn’t necessarily on his radar, but when he received a call from his former professor and mentor, Bill Steele, asking him to help the program transition to the Bay Road building, he realized that he had already been teaching for years.

“I had no idea I wanted to be an educator, but I always took local high school kids and gave them jobs,” he said.

With time, Bolton realized that his work with the students was making a lasting impact on them and on the region.

“I love changing lives. I really look forward to training my students to be better than I was,” he said, explaining he once heard teaching described as planting seeds and not being able to sit under the shade the trees that grew would one day cast. “That’s a cool way to put it; so my students can pass what I know along, too.”