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Pathfinder regional Vocational Technical High School.


Vocational Technical High. School has provided quality technical and academic education in the Massachusetts communities of Belchertown, Granby, Hardwick, Monson, New Braintree, Palmer, Ware and Warren. Superintendent-Director Gerald Paist describes the faculty as talented and committed and notes that the school is well known for enabling each student to reach his or her full potential.

Over the years, Pathfinder has grown to serve 650 students. And now offering education in 14 fields, it has become a school of choice. Among the programs it currently offers is the culinary arts program, which is 'intended to provide students with a strong foundation in the skills that are required in the food service industry. The program has been certified by the American Culinary Foundation (ACF) since 2003, and students are also given ServSafe instruction, which will provide them with the opportunity to attain ServSafe certification from *the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).

In the chef training section of the Culinary Arts Program, students learn about recipe and menu planning, preparing and cooking foods, supervising and training kitchen assistants, management of supplies and resources, aesthetics of food presentations and familiarity or mastery of a variety of techniques. There is also a program that prepares students in skills needed to become institutional food workers and administrators in government, commercial or independently owned institutional food establishments.

Other instructional programs that are part of culinary arts education at Pathfinder include culinary-related studies of the theory behind cooking. Students study basic techniques, techniques for regional-specific cuisine and hospitality management. In the quantity foods section of their studies, students are introduced to quantity commercial cooking that prepares them to work in institutions like schools, hospitals, assisted-living facilities and factories, or in catering or industries like airlines.

Another area of study in the Pathfinder Culinary Arts Program is production baking, where the students acquire the skills for cake decorating and making breads, pastries, pies and cookies. They also learn about special parties and functions, as well as the necessary cash register and math skills. In the food and beverage management section of the program, students learn about ordering, inventory, and other administrative and human-resource responsibilities required of food service managers who supervise the daily operations or restaurants and other food and beverage facilities.

The Restaurant at Pathfinder is another way that the program enables students to gain real-world experience because it provides them with an opportunity to learn all the different aspects of working in a dining facility. The restaurant is student operated, has a capacity of 50, and offers a la carte service.

Pathfinder graduates have gone on to postsecondary education, business and industry, and the military. Because of the high-quality academic and career and technical education (CTE) they received in high school, they have become responsible, well-trained and productive citizens who are helping to improve the economy and the quality of life in their communities.

For more information about Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School and its Culinary Arts/Chef Training Program, please visit

Susan Reese is a Techniques contributing writer. She can be contacted at
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Author:Reese, Susan
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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