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01/26/16 3:00pm
01/26/2016 3:00 PM


It’s no secret that nitrogen is considered the leading culprit in the fight to improve the area’s waterways.

Now, following a summer which saw thousands upon thousands of dead fish float up on local shorelines, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is working to develop a Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan (LINAP) to help fight that battle. (more…)

07/29/14 2:48pm
07/29/2014 2:48 PM
The Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts Knowledge Bowl team consists of: (from left) faculty advisor Andrea Glick, Lynn Bohlen, Vincent Sperling, team captain Satoko Matthews, Lillian Senior and team manager Sherry Mazze. (Credit: SCCC courtesy)

The Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts Knowledge Bowl team consists of: (from left) faculty advisor Andrea Glick, Lynn Bohlen, Vincent Sperling, team captain Satoko Matthews, Lillian Senior and team manager Sherry Mazze. (Credit: SCCC courtesy)

There’s more to cooking than just following a recipe or throwing some ingredients into a pot. In fact, even budding chefs need to be aware of numerous technical terms and procedures.

The Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Team was tested on many of those facts at the American Culinary Federation’s National Culinary Knowledge Bowl.  (more…)

12/06/13 10:00am
12/06/2013 10:00 AM


Suffolk County Community College culinary students will compete against each other at the downtown Riverhead campus Friday, but won’t know what they’re cooking until the event begins.

Much like the reality cooking show Chopped, students will receive a mystery basket of ingredients and asked to turn them into a dish. Judges will be evaluating each one’s creativity, presentation and taste.

The top chef will win a seven-night stay at the Sheraton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater, Fla., and an opportunity to work under the supervision of the resort’s executive chef. The contest’s “Battle for the Beach” prize also includes round-trip airfare and ground transportation.

“This competition takes students a step closer to becoming professional chefs,” Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts Program director Richard Freilich said in a statement. “It is a great opportunity to help them grow and to see if this is truly a career they want to pursue.”

The free event starts at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

For more information, contact the culinary school at (631) 548-3700.

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05/08/13 1:00pm
05/08/2013 1:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO |  Luke Gustafson, a Hampton Bays senior, prepares his prize-winning dish at Suffolk Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center.

The kitchen was heating up at Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center in Riverhead Tuesday afternoon, where four high school student chefs were competing for a $1,500 scholarship to the culinary program.

Hampton Bays High School senior Luke Gustafson, 18, cooked the prize-winning dish: sliced chicken breast in a tomato-mushroom sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed French green beans.

To make it to the competition, he and the other aspiring chefs had to compete against culinary students from their own high schools. The winner from each participating school then moved on to the SCCC competition.

Now in its fifth year, the contest was created to support student learning and encourage promising students. It’s also a way to show off the culinary talent Long Island has to offer.

Similar to the Food Network’s cooking competition show “Chopped,” the students were given a mystery basket full of ingredients — and 90 minutes to turn them into a delectable dish.

College instructors kept a watchful eye on the students from start to finish, judging them on cooking techniques, use of ingredients, cleanliness, presentation, taste and creativity. The secret ingredients: chicken, potatoes and fresh green beans.

“They are the most common. If they can take these items and make something good out of them, they’ve accomplished the task,” said Richard Freilich, director of SCCC’s culinary arts program. “We don’t want to make it too difficult; we really just want to see their skill level.”

Other competitors were Daniel Insoyna, 17, a Southold High School junior; Ruben Bernacet, 19, a senior at Bellport High School; and Charles Alifano, 17, a senior at Floral Park Memorial High School.

Each student was accompanied by a culinary teacher from his high school, who came along for support.

Luke and Daniel are both enrolled in the Eastern Suffolk BOCES culinary program in Riverhead, spending 2 1/2 hours per day, five days a week learning different aspects of cooking.

“We’ve used all of the ingredients before,” said BOCES culinary teacher Tom Hashagen, a resident of Shelter Island. “We do a lot of instruction with chicken because it’s the cheapest thing to use. I told the kids it’s what they would probably have.”

Mr. Hashagen described Daniel, who took second place in the competition, as a quick learner. “He’s one of those kids that, once he comes in, you know he’s going to be good,” he said.

“Luke is sort of intense,” Mr. Hashagen continued. “He finds out what he needs to do and attacks it fairly well. He also shows some good leadership qualities we are trying to work on and foster.”

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01/12/13 10:00am
01/12/2013 10:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Ethan Crook (left), a culinary student and line cook at North Fork Table and Inn in Southold, with chef Stephan Bogardus.

Today’s college graduates are famously hard pressed to find a job during this historically sluggish economy.

Not so for Suffolk County Community College’s culinary school students and alumni.

Nearly 100 percent of the college’s culinary arts program graduates find work in the field, with many ending up in upscale commercial kitchens throughout the North Fork, said program director Richard Freilich.

“We don’t do placement, per se, but we do have connections with a lot of the local businesses looking to fill different types of positions,” Mr. Freilich said. “We try to find students that are best suited for those positions.”

He said the program’s job-placement successes are thanks in part to the internship program.

Students pursuing culinary degrees at SCCC are required to fulfill 200 internship hours with a restaurant, hotel or other business in the hospitality industry. These internships often turn into full-time positions, he said.

The Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center on Main Street in downtown Riverhead opened in 2008 with 135 students enrolled. The number has only grown since then, with 369 students in the fall class of 2012, said Mary Feder, director of college relations.

“There’s a great demand for our students, so we get calls all the time looking for experienced help,” said Mr. Freilich, noting that as part of internship work, baking students work at the college’s retail operation, The Baker’s Workshop, in the main culinary school.

“The input we get back from students is excellent,” Mr. Freilich said of the school’s hands-on approach to education. “They say had they not come here, they wouldn’t have gotten their job.”

Nobody knows that better than current student Courtney Rowehl. She got her job at the Plaza Café in Southampton by asking chef and owner Doug Gulij, who is one of her teachers, if she could do part of her internship at the well-known seafood restaurant.

“I’ve been there three years now,” Ms. Rowehl said, adding that being successful takes hard work and sacrifice, but the support of her teacher was important. “At Suffolk, there’s a core of teachers that know all the students by name, post jobs and will always push you to do harder internships. I wanted to do the fine dining thing, so I just went for it.”

And that’s exactly what culinary student Ethan Crook of Southold has been doing at North Fork Table & Inn since his internship began in July. He has since turned the apprentice role into a full-time position at the Southold four-star restaurant.

“Working here has definitely helped me progress as a cook in the sense of working more independently and confidently,” Mr. Crook said. “I try to do that as much as I can — to just go for it. I like Julia Childs’ quote, ‘In cooking you have to have a what-the-hell attitude.’ I feel like if you don’t just go for it, then you’re not going to learn how to do it. Sometimes Stephan will tell me that failure is when you learn.”

He’s talking about the restaurant’s rising young chef Stephan Bogardus, 24, of Southold, a former classmate of Mr. Crook’s at Mattituck High School.

Mr. Bogardus said he has enjoyed having students from different culinary schools intern at the restaurant in the past year, noting that Mr. Crook was the restaurant’s first intern.

“Having students from different schools, educations and abilities has helped me display what [executive chef] Gerry Hayden and [acclaimed pastry chef and co-owner] Claudia Fleming … have taught me, which is really what took me to the level I’m now able to achieve,” said Mr. Bogardus, who first joined the North Fork Table & Inn team after graduating in 2009 from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Though Mr. Crook, former cook at the Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck, wasn’t an entirely blank slate when he began his internship at North Fork Table & Inn, he said there was a steep learning curve associated with doing his first gig at a high-end restaurant.

“This is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Mr. Crook, now a line-cook at the restaurant. “This is more than just a restaurant. It’s first and foremost a very passionate cooking kitchen. It’s very serious, but enjoyable; I really get a kick out it. I definitely see more types of food, greens and proteins than I think I would in a lot of places.”

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