Loyalist culinary students discovered that although they had read about it in books, studied it in the classroom and watched it on television — nothing prepared them for the energy, diversity and opportunities of the culinary world of New York City. From Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem to the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, the students saw it all. They tasted. They toured. They met the culinary masters of New York. Four days, packed with rich experiences — seeing skills they were learning at Loyalist being applied in the kitchens of some of the most famous eating establishments in the world.
“The pulse of New York was contagious,” said Robyn Hoffman, a second-year culinary student. “I’d have to say that one of my favourite parts of the trip was our tasting tour of the Chelsea Market. Only a few years ago this was an area of New York that was deeply troubled and now it has been rejuvenated by small business people into a successful and vibrant part of the city — home to a wide collection of successful restaurants, bakeries and specialty shops. It was so inspirational in that it made you realize that people can make their dreams happen — the Chelsea Market is living proof.
“The movie Serendipity is one of my absolute favourites and it was filmed at the restaurant of the same name in New York. We went there. They are noted for their famous hot chocolate that is served in a bowl. I can’t believe I was actually there and tasted it. I think the greatest thing I learned on the trip was that the possibilities are endless. I can work at a huge world-famous hotel like the Grand Hyatt. I can open a small bakery like those in the market. I can have my own unique little restaurant tucked away in a community. There are so many choices, and this trip really made me understand that the choices are mine and that I can make them happen.”
Arrangements were made for the students to visit the Grand Hyatt Hotel where they met with the Employment Manager and the Executive Chef. They were then given a tour of the hotel, kitchen and dining facility. In addition to their immersion in New York’s culinary scene the students found time to explore some of the city’s tourist highlights. Central Park, the Staten Island Ferry, Ground Zero, the Financial District and the Metropolitan Museum were included on the agenda. Some visited the top of the Rockefeller Building for the breathtaking 360-degree view of New York at night.
New York is one of two trips planned for this year’s students. In February, the college’s second-year culinary students will be going to France —the homeland of fine cuisine. Robyn can’t wait for this next adventure. “I believe that the more a chef travels, seeing and tasting along the way, the greater their skills will become. These trips are amazing opportunities to learn and gain a better understanding of how we will be able to apply everything we are studying now when we graduate.”