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    Warren County Watch
    A column by Maury Thompson about economic development, business and quality of life in Warren County
    More than just cooking coming to Downtown
    Alexis Castolo, a SUNY Adirondack culinary student, turned the task of roasting garlic for flavoring a beef rib entrée over to another student.
    "You're in charge of my garlic," he said.
    Castolo, of Schuylerville, said the curriculum includes management and organizing skills.
    "We learn how to direct, especially during a crisis," he said.
    "It gets hectic," he said, recalling one time when they ran out of filet mignon in the middle of serving a public lunch.
    "I had to get back here, cut it as fast as I could, and cook it," he said.
    "The culinary program teaches more than just cooking skills," said SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy.
    "They do everything from planning the menu to serving the food," she said.
    Castolo, a second-year student, said the program has taught him to recognize his strengths and weaknesses.
    "Baking's definitely not a strong suit for me," the 23-year-old said.
    He recognizes he will need to recruit a skilled baker when he graduates in May and hopefully opens a "fusion cuisine" specialty rib restaurant somewhere in the region.
    "The students get hands-on experience from what we teach them to make it applicable in the work place," said Meghan Diehl, culinary arts instructor.
    The SUNY Adirondack culinary program will be able to accommodate more students and enhance the learning experience when it relocates this spring from a former deli on Bay Road in Queensbury to the ground floor of the new 14 Hudson mixed-use complex, next to Glens Falls Hospital, in downtown Glens Falls.
    "We're hoping to grow 20 percent in the next couple of years, and be able to grow more after," said Matt Bolton, culinary arts instructor.
    The goal is to make the move during the college's spring break, in mid-March.
    "That's the tentative deadline," said Bolton.
    The City of Glens Falls identified the relocation of SUNY'S Culinary School to Downtown as a key project in the City's DRI award. The City allocated $500,000 in funding through the Glens Falls Downtown Revitalization Initiative at the new location. Additionally Empire State Development Corporation has also provided $500,000 toward this priority project.  
    "The new site will have additional class room space, a separate baking kitchen and space for preparing gluten free foods," Duffy said.
    "The new space will seat 100 comfortably, versus 60 in tight quarters at the Bay Road location," Bolton said.
    At the new location, students will prepare and serve lunches and evening meals. Only lunches are served now.
    "SUNY Adirondack is applying for a license to serve beer and wine so the culinary program can collaborate with the college's new sustainable agriculture program to plan "farm-to-table" community dinners featuring food dishes paired with local craft beverages," Bolton said.
    "The new location will be more efficient for students doing internships at downtown restaurants," Bolton said.
    "The culinary program will provide seminars and cooking demonstrations at the new year-round farmers market facility planned for South Street in downtown," said Edward Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County.
    SUNY Adirondack offers one-year certificates in commercial cooking and two-year associate in applied culinary science degrees.
    Many students are preparing to be entrepreneurs.
    "The dream is to own my own bed and breakfast. That's where I'm headed," said Amanda Abrantes, a 49-year-old Lake George resident who enrolled at SUNY Adirondack after managing the office for her husband's construction company for many years.
    "I wanted to learn the technical side of it (cooking.) I wanted to learn the science behind it," she said.
    Kyra Edmoncson, of the Bronx, hopes to open a restaurant in North Carolina, where her family is moving.
    "I definitely want to implement healthier cooking," she said. "I would want to get it (ingredients) from a local farm."
    Edmoncson, who will graduate with a two-year degree in May, said her first year in the program enabled her to get a summer job as a line cook at Xavier's, a four-star restaurant in Yonkers.
    It definitely skyrocketed me ahead in the game," she said. "Some nights I cooked for almost 300 people."
    In other Warren County economic development, business and quality of life news:
    Warrensburg wants to keep empty nesters
    "Warrensburg has commerce that offsets the disadvantage of not having high-value lake front properties," said Supervisor Kevin Geraghty.
    "We have Tops (supermarket), we have the (Hudson Headwaters) health center, and we have Rite Aid, everything in walking distance."
    Other businesses such as Oscar's smoke house and Jacobs & Toney Famous Deli and Meat Store of the North are destination businesses that bring commerce to town.
    Town officials are attempting to recruit a developer to construct a senior housing project so that long-time residents selling their homes after children are grown will stay in Warrensburg and continue supporting local commerce.
    "I think we've got to focus on that more going forward," Geraghty said in a recent interview.
    "Several new businesses have opened or expanded recently in Warrensburg, and other commercial development is in the works," he said.
    Town officials hope to resurrect a joint effort with the town of Chester to recruit a wood chip plant to open in one town or the other.
    "What's important for people to know is they can come talk with us," he said.
    Geraghty said "EDC Warren County and its president, Edward Bartholomew, have been helpful." 
    "Ed always keeps us on the map," he said.
    The "An" in STEAM was powerful when the Glens Falls Symphony Children's Chorus and SUNY Adirondack's Mountainaires choral ensemble performed a joint holiday concert in December at The Hyde Collection art museum, as part of the Glens Falls Collaborative Hometown Holiday festival.
    STEAM is an acronym for an educational philosophy that incorporates the arts and creativity in an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math.
    Musicians in the children's choir had a look of accomplishment on their faces as they lined up in front of the college students for the closing number, a combined singing of "Hark The Herald Angels Sing."
    Many in the audience commented afterward they hope the joint concert becomes an annual tradition.
     "Maury's musing"
    A historical anecdote from the book "Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith," by Robert A. Slayton, reminded me how appreciative I am of the new public address system installed at Cool Insuring Arena earlier this year.
    As the anecdote goes, a speaker at the 1924 Democratic National Convention proclaimed, "What this country needs is another Paul Revere."
    People sitting in the balconies at Madison Square Garden thought they heard, "What this country needs is a good beer," and burst into applause.
    That would have been a bold statement, indeed, in the Prohibition era.
    Maury Thompson is a former reporter for The Post-Star who retired in September after covering the region for 21 years.
    He keeps his finger on the pulse of economic development, business and quality of life in Warren County by writing a twice-a-month column for EDC Warren County. 

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