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Food for Thought on the Road: Culinary Arts at WITCC

Looking into the culinary lab
Hank Zimmerman

Food for Thought is back on the road, today. It's a short trip, just across the street from FM90. Chef Brett McCarthy, Administrative Program Coordinator of Culinary Arts, led us into the WIT's new Culinary Arts Program's kitchen classrooms – spotless stainless steel surfaces, walls and floors precisely tiled, refrigerators humming. It was enough to make our little hearts burst, a truly beautiful and inspiring space.   

Theory lab of WITCC's Culinary Arts program
Credit Hank Zimmerman
The kitchen has four identical stations and can accommodate 20 students working at one time.

The program has proved to be a great success in the short amount of time that it has been available. More applications came in for the first semester than there were spaces, and even more applications are coming in for the next year.

Kitchen equipment
Credit Hank Zimmerman
The kitchen has 40 burners, a blast chiller, char broilers, etc.

Chef McCarthy was the architect of the program, having the responsibility (and pleasure) of designing the kitchens and selecting the equipment. His goal was to provide a workspace for students that would allow them to leave the program with the knowledge and skills to use the equipment that is standard in the industry. After having designed many such spaces for other programs, it is worth noting, Chef tells us that WIT's program is the most impressive he has seen, that the college has shown its commitment to creating a truly great program. 

Dish washing equipment
Credit Hank Zimmerman
Learning to do the dishes is an important part of every well-rounded chef's education.

The dishwashing room, or wear-room, is as big as many restaurant kitchens, Chef tells us. It was filled with all manner of washing equipment, including a basing that cycles warm, clean water. There is also a washing machine and dryer for linens. 

Credit Hank Zimmerman
WITCC's Culinary Arts baking lab.

Phase 2 in the development of WIT's Culinary Arts program is the baking lab, which was just completed. Here, students will learn the basics, from quick breads to yeast breads as well as pies and pastries. They will go on to make more advanced hearth breads and pastries after completing their introductory classes. 

Dutchess dough splitter
Credit Hank Zimmerman
The Dutchess dough splitter is an old technology, but a good one.
Credit Hank Zimmerman
Ovens, dry and wet.

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