AHS juniors finding Culinary Arts the recipe for success

three high school students in chef uniforms and hats
Amsterdam High School juniors (L-R) Jose Rosario, Michel Morales and Kirialys Ortiz. The three are first-year students in the Culinary Arts program at HFM BOCES CTE.

Today we’d like to introduce you to three of our “rising stars” at Amsterdam High School who are studying to become chefs in the Career & Technical Education (CTE) program at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery (HFM) BOCES.

Meet Jose Rosario, Michel Morales and Kirialys Ortiz – all AHS juniors studying Culinary Arts part of their school day on the HFM campus in Johnstown with nearly 40 other students from HFM high schools.

The three Amsterdam students enrolled in the two-year program last fall and are learning the skills necessary to enter the workforce as a chef or pursue additional training in college. Graduates work in restaurants and resorts around the region and beyond, own their establishments and even prepare food for professional sporting events.

Students in this course will have the opportunity to study various units such as: baking and pastry, commercial food preparation, front end service, fine dining, restaurant operations, and catering. Demand for chefs and head cooks is forecast to increase 15 percent over the next decade.

The Culinary Arts program is aligned with the National Restaurant Association’s Pro Start curriculum. In addition, students gain hands on experience in a state-of-the-art kitchen and engage in work-based learning and leadership by catering special events, luncheons, dinners and completing an internship experience at a local restaurant, bakery, hotel or food service facility at the end of their senior year.

Let’s learn more about these Amsterdam students and their educational goals:

Jose Rosario

boy in chef uniformWhy did you decide to enroll in the Culinary Arts program at HFM BOCES?

“I have always liked cooking ever since I was a young child. I saw my mom cook and I was inspired by her and wanted to be like her.”

Do you see a culinary career in your future?

“Hopefully, I will get the privilege of going to college for culinary arts. Culinary is something that I really love. I love this class and my teammates here.”

What do you like best about the program?

“The people are really nice and we are doing different things every day.”

What one memory that stands out to you so far?

“I’d say Thanksgiving time because I was able to bond with my teammates. We planned meals together, we cooked together, and we ate together. It was really great.”

What is one piece of advice you would offer to a prospective Amsterdam student?

“Follow what you love. Follow your passions.”

Michael Morales

boy in chef uniformWhy did you decide to enroll in the Culinary Arts program at HFM BOCES?

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to help open more doors for myself.”

What do you like best about the culinary program?

“I get along really well with everyone here and we treat each other like a family.”

What is your favorite experience so far of the culinary program?

“I don’t have one single experience. I really enjoy everything that goes on here. I would like to pursue culinary as a potential career path.”

Kirialys Ortiz

girl in chef uniformWhy did you decide to enroll in the Culinary Arts program at HFM BOCES?

“I’ve always wanted to do it. The movie Ratatouille inspired me to go into this field. Once I’m finished here I’m going to continue on with my education and someday I would like to open my own restaurant or bakery.”

What do you like best about the Culinary Arts program?

“It’s more of a different taste than I’m used to. As a Hispanic individual, I’m used to my own culture, and I’m not used to the cultures that I see here. But it’s been a great learning experience for me. There are really good people here!”

Is there an experience that stands out to you the most?

“During Thanksgiving everyone cooked different kinds of foods and we got to taste them all. The class also had some friendly competitions taking place with different foods. It was a lot of fun!”

What advice would you give to a prospective Amsterdam student?

“Stepping out of your comfort zone may be scary at first and you may be afraid to fail, but remember that practice makes perfect, and that’s exactly what we do here.”