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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Culinary students begin kitchen lab

  • The first class of culinary students at Lackawanna College Lake Region Center has begun their all-important kitchen laboratory experience, thanks to a partnership with Ledges Hotel next door to the college site in the Hawley Silk Mill.


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  • The first class of culinary students at Lackawanna College Lake Region Center has begun their all-important kitchen laboratory experience, thanks to a partnership with Ledges Hotel next door to the college site in the Hawley Silk Mill.
    The students, dressed in their crisp white chef jackets, headed down to the kitchen at the Glass restaurant at Ledges Hotel, this past Tuesday.
    Stephanie Decker, who chairs the Mary & Harry Kiesendahl School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the college, said that their goal is to place a state-of-the-art kitchen lab in a lower level of the Silk Mill. They are in the final stages of the approval process for a federal grant, and mid-way through a Capital Campaign to raise funds for the required match.
    During their first semester, the culinary students receive classroom instruction both in the culinary field and other subjects. Hospitality students also must take one kitchen lab class.
    Culinary and Hospitality students are studying for an Associate in Science degree. The Hospitality program, which focuses more on customer service beyond the kitchen, began in the fall of 2010. The charter class will receive their degrees this spring.
    Culinary Arts goes beyond food prep and fine cooking. Decker said the students are receiving a well-rounded education that will enable them to known what it takes to manage a restaurant, from finances to food laws. The Associates degree is the most sought credential in the field, she said.
    They will be developing a mock restaurant, requiring them to write a business plan, craft a menu, prepare for bank loans and building codes.
    Eventually, they hope to utilizes Ledges Hotel for both their Hospitality and Culinary students to gain field experience, from management to meals.
    The expectations are high for these students to find available work in the food service industry. Restaurants and resorts in the Poconos and beyond have shown great support for the program. Decker said there is high demand in the region for well-educated job applicants, and she states she gets calls daily about graduates or internship opportunities.
    Summer internships are offered between the first and second school year.
    Despite the lax economy, Decker said that the hospitality and restaurant industry in the Poconos continues to grow.  The encouraging support Lackawanna College has received is why these programs are being offered at the Hawley site, rather than the main campus in Scranton.
    “Students will get a good return on their education,” she said.
    Decker is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and has 22 years experience in the hotel and resort industry.
    The Culinary program accepts up to 15 students a year, and Hospitality Management can take up to 25. They presently have 25 students between the two. Decker and two other teachers offer the instruction.
    Page 2 of 2 - For more information:
    (570)226-4625
    www.lackawanna.edu
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