Culinary Student Heading East

Culinary Student Heading East
Posted on 02/13/2018
Image of Gillian Allen
Kenmore-Garfield's Gillian Allen to top culinary school

(courtesy of Megan Becka and

Gillian Allen, a senior in the culinary arts program at Kenmore-Garfield High School, has been accepted at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

The Culinary Institute of America, considered one of the top culinary schools in the United States, boasts graduates Grant Achatz, Enrique Olvera, Anthony Bourdain and Michael Symon.

"I'm excited to go pursue my dreams. The Culinary Institute of America has been my dream school since I was 12," Allen said. "Around sixth or seventh grade, I started making people birthday cakes and bringing cupcakes to school just because I wanted to bake," she said. "I like seeing the faces of people when they get a cupcake or a cake for their birthday."

Allen, who will study baking and pastry when she begins school in September, credits the Kenmore-Garfield culinary arts program and Curriculum Specialist Chef David Skelly for helping her solidify her dreams.

"Being part of the program helped me because Chef Skelly taught me a lot and helped me learn how to clean up as I go because I was really bad at that, and he taught me how to work with others really well," she said.

Allen is the third student from the recently merged Kenmore-Garfield High School to be accepted into the Culinary Institute of America in the past four years.

"It's a dream come true for me and for them," Skelly said.

Skelley said the Kenmore-Garfield program gives students a taste of what working in culinary arts can be like and offers something to reach for in the future.

The two-year program at Kenmore-Garfield covers the fundamentals of food production, such as cooking methods, how to use kitchen equipment and tools, and knife skills. Juniors learn how to make soups and sauces; and seniors perfect more complex cooking techniques, like entrees, baking and catering.

Students in the program even gain hands-on experience by running the school's restaurant, the President's Room, on Thursdays and Fridays. The 50-seat restaurant is open to the public, and offers homemade soups, a 28-item fresh-cut salad bar, and a signature entree.

While the program can help students decide if they are interested in a career in culinary arts, Skelly recommends students pursue at least an associate's degree after graduation. Possible culinary arts careers include chef, pastry chef, or even restaurant manager or maitre d, according to Skelly.

"I know Gillian loves pastry and baking, so she is one of the exceptions in that she already knows she wants for her future," he said.

"Gillian is very persistent. She doesn't quit until it's done and done right, so I'm very excited to see her success at The Culinary Institute of America."
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