BCCC culinary lab is heating up

Published 7:13 pm Thursday, April 6, 2017

Since it first opened in October, there has not been a quiet moment in the Frances Morgan Roberson Culinary Arts Lab at Beaufort County Community College.

The college has had the pleasure of hosting Paul Cyr and Morten Hoj, both former kitchen managers. On April 24, the lab will host a certificate course geared toward chefs who currently work in restaurants or are looking to get into the industry.

Chefs are in demand locally as the restaurant industry expands. Owners of three local restaurants have approached Lou Stout, who oversees the culinary program at the community college, with requests for cooks and chefs.

“They have told me that they will give preference to students who have received a certificate from our program,” Stout said.

The four-week class will focus on braising, sautéing, roasting, pan-frying and knife skills. During each class there is one scholarship available from the Frances Morgan Roberson Endowment, which purchased the equipment for the culinary lab and has provided some financial aid to students. Having a certification can help job seekers gain an advantage against other applicants.

Hoj began his career in 1975 as a chef working for the Danish embassy in Washington, D.C. He worked in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for 30 years at schools and resorts until he was recruited to manage the kitchen at the Washington Yacht & Country Club in 2009.

Cyr first worked as a chef at a hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1978. He worked at and ran a variety of industrial kitchens and catering operations, including Madison Square Gardens in New York. In 2007, he took over as culinary director for East Carolina University’s food service.

Both chefs have brought their passion for food and knowledge of kitchen management to the program. When the culinary lab is in operation, the shiny stainless-steel kitchen comes alive with the smells of melting butter, fresh cilantro and roasting meats. Student chefs work around one another as they stir pots on the stoves, chop vegetables and puree ingredients together.

Other upcoming classes include “Knife Skills” starting on April 27. During recent classes, participants have also learned to bake bread from Rachel Midgette, owner of Rachel K’s Bakery.

These classes are available through the Continuing Education Department at BCCC. To register, call 252-940-6375 or email continuingeducation@beaufortccc.edu.