Focus on Culinary Arts

Students in the SUNY Adirondack Culinary Arts program put the finishing touches on a dish during a recent dinner at Seasoned in downtown Glens Falls.

Students in the SUNY Adirondack Culinary Arts program put the finishing touches on a dish during a recent dinner at Seasoned in downtown Glens Falls.

Culinary degree helps build local hospitality workforce

There’s more to being a top chef than cooking delicious food.

Keith Stewart enrolled in the SUNY Adirondack Culinary Arts program to learn more about the industry after working for several years in area restaurants.

“I chose SUNY Adirondack because I’ve heard it’s a good school. I read up on it and did some research, and it fit me the best,” said Stewart, who lives in Hudson Falls. “I plan to get my credentials, work my way up and own my own restaurant one day.”

Stewart is part of the college’s Culinary and Baking Arts curriculum, which leads to an associate in occupational studies (AOS) degree. The program, designed specifically for people looking to start a job in the industry, complements the college’s Culinary Arts associate of applied science degree and Commercial Cooking certificate.

“The new AOS degree has brought more hands-on and skill building classes to our already impressive culinary offerings,” said Nick Paigo, chair of the SUNY Adirondack Technology Division. “Students in the new AOS will have the opportunity to take advanced baking and confections classes, learn about special diets and how to prepare food for them and have practical experiences in butchering and garde mange (soups and sandwiches.)”

The degree program launched in 2018 at the same time the college opened its new Culinary Arts Center, which is home to Seasoned, the student-run restaurant. The expanded, state-of-the-art facility in downtown Glens Falls includes a mix of commercial kitchen spaces, classrooms and a public dining room.

We had the new AOS in mind when we were designing the new culinary facility and Seasoned. One of the first things that we did was have two separate labs; one that could be a designated bakeshop to support our new baking and confectionary classes and another that would serve as our main kitchen that we could keep 100% gluten free to support not only our special diets class, but so we could offer our diners with allergies a delicious experience,” Paigo said.

Matt Bolton, instructor of culinary arts, has seen first-hand how the new location has benefited students in the culinary program.

“The new building gives us access to run our kitchen, bake shop, dining service courses and two lecture courses at the same time,” said Bolton. “We now have access to the farmers market and the opportunity to work with local restaurants and community members.”

Stewart has enjoyed having the opportunity to interact with the public, both at the restaurant and while serving food at community events.

“I’ve learned to communicate better with people. When you are stuck in a kitchen, you  don't do that,” he said.

He also has benefited from Bolton’s mentorship and the connections the program has to local restauranteurs.

“Working with Chef Matt and learning new things is what I came here for,” he said. “I’ve met a number of chefs and seen some awesome food.”


Justin Warner

Chef Justin Warner is known for his out-of-the-box thinking in the kitchen.

'Food Network Star' visits SUNY Adirondack

Celebrity Chef Justin Warner visited SUNY Adirondack in Spring 2020.

Warner, who won the eighth season of "Food Network Star," is known for his TV appearances on culinary shows. He is the author of “The Laws of Cooking: And How to Break Them.”

The event, sponsored by Chartwells, included a presentation, question-and-answer session, free samples and a book signing.