Agriculture Dinner Reaps Reward for Culinary Arts Students

When the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce approached Chef Tracy Burgio about catering the Celebrate Agriculture dinner, she knew that this event would be a culinary challenge that her students would welcome.

During the month of March, Chef Burgio, the Culinary Arts Instructor at the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center, worked with the Culinary Arts students to plan and practice preparing the menu which included food products grown or donated by Genesee County farmers.

As the April 2 event date drew closer, so did the number of dinner attendees. This team of Culinary Arts students, led by Chef Burgio and Denise Kaus, Culinary Arts teacher aide, whipped up some culinary creations and served over 300 people.  Some of the menu items included roasted potatoes, pasta in white cream sauce, and Italian pot roast.  Food and produce were provided by area farms and the dinner was held at the Alexander Fire Hall.

Any profits from the dinner were donated to the Batavia CTE Center Culinary Arts Club.  Genesee County Chamber of Commerce representatives Erik Fix and Kelly Bermingham, along with Molly Anderson from Torrey Farms, recently visited the Batavia CTE Center and met with Culinary Arts students, as well as Chef Burgio and Kaus, to present a check to the Culinary Art Club.

During the check presentation, Erik Fix, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President, praised the students for their work.

“We are thrilled to present this check to the Culinary Arts Club, on behalf of the Chamber Ag Dinner Committee.  Chef Tracy and her students provided the food for our 2022 Celebrate Ag Dinner at Alexander Fire Hall.  The students provided a home-grown meal for over 300 people and did it flawlessly,” Fix said. “It was great to connect these students with our program, and we are excited to provide them with an opportunity for continued growth as a result of their efforts.”

Chef Burgio was overwhelmed when she realized the amount of the donation. 

“This $2,000 contribution is an incredibly generous donation and a huge boost to the Culinary Arts Club. These funds will be used in many ways that will benefit our students, including field trips to food shows, college visits, and trips to culinary competitions.  I also hope to bring students to a five-star restaurant so they can experience a seven-course meal,” Chef Burgio said.

Margaret Poray is the Executive Principal of the GV BOCES Batavia Campus.  Poray noted how events like the Celebrate Agriculture dinner provide real-world work experiences for students.

“CTE encompasses a wide range of activities intended to provide students with skills necessary to enter industry or to prepare for post-secondary degrees in technical fields.  Events like the Celebrate Agriculture dinner provide just that opportunity,” Poray said. “When students are active in community service projects, they learn valuable life skills through volunteering, including teamwork, communication, responsibility, time management, and goal setting.”

The students who were part of this Celebrate Agriculture dinner culinary team are:

Jakob Abrams, Pembroke

Navea Bazile, Batavia

Kyle Hinze, Attica

Lindsay Augello, Elba

Madison Eddy, Attica

Jack Falls, Alexander

Mason Stone, Attica

Jesus Arias Diaz, Oakfield-Alabama

Joshua Capwell II, Attica

Shelby (Ash) Vogel, Attica

Alexa Wolcott, Pavilion