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RCC Launches Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center Food Enthusiast Program Community Classes Begin November 7th

RCC Launches Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center Food Enthusiast Program Community Classes Begin November 7th

Students at the Nyack Hospitality & Culinary Arts Center

October 17, 2019

Rockland County, NY -- The Rockland Community College Hospitality & Culinary Arts Center, located at 70 Main Street in Nyack, will launch its Food Enthusiast Program next month.

In addition to offering classes to matriculating students at the Center, RCC will offer classes for the community beginning November 7th.  “Our expert instructors will help participants gain the skills and confidence they need to cook like a chef. Our classroom kitchen offers ten workstations with state-of-the-art equipment, the same ones used in our outstanding culinary arts program, as well as a teaching station equipped with audio and video technology so that students can easily hear and see exactly what the steps are for each lesson,” states Mark Davidoff, Director of the Center. “Students will work together with others and enjoy a fun, hands-on cooking experience led by a professional chef instructor,” he added.

One goal of the Center is to use locally sourced produce, vegetables and meats from Hudson Valley farms and markets in the one day classes which will include a diverse array of topics like knife skills, grilling, vegetarian/vegan cooking, pickling and canning, and baking. The first 3 classes are $59 per person and will run from 6:30pm – 9:00pm.

The first class is Vegetarian Autumn in the Hudson Valley utilizing local artisan cheeses, fresh picked apples and berries, and local dairy products to produce a 3-course vegetarian meal. The class will take place November 7th. The Chef Instructor will be Chris Spezial, who is also the Program Director of the Culinary Arts Center at RCC. Spezial was the head chef at the classic French bistro La Cappanina in the Hudson Valley, executive chef at Cafe Bedford in San Francisco, and chef at A Taste of Distinction.  The menu for this event is Roasted Vegetable and Hudson Valley Goat Cheese Tart, Penne with Pan Roasted Wild Mushrooms and Acorn Squash and Free Form Hudson Valley Apple Cinnamon Pouch.

The second class will be held November 12th and is titled Italian Bistro. Students will create four Italian dishes. The authentic ingredients and old world flavors will transport you to a trattoria in Rome.

The menu will include Eggplant Pizza Tarts, Tomato Bread Soup w/ Ricotta Salata, Warm Caesar Salad with Romaine and Radicchio, Prosciutto, Eggs and Parmesan, Spaghetti w/ Pancetta & Black Pepper. The instructor will be Billy Strynkowski, formerly the Executive Chef for Cooking Light Magazine is the Director of Wellness for Restaurant Associates. A culinary graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, he also worked for Restaurant Associates for 14 years at Goldman Sachs and Time Inc. and as the Executive Sous Chef at Tropica Restaurant at the MetLife Building in NYC.

The third class titled Holiday Appetizers & Sides, will be held on December 5th. The ingredients will include apples, pears, turnips, and more from the Hudson Valley in preparing five delicious and different dishes including Chorizo-Stuffed Dates with bacon and Red Pepper-Tomato Sauce, Zucchini Roulades w/ Ricotta Tomatoes and Basil, Corn Fritter Casserole, Roasted Baby Turnips with Tops, Almond Pesto and Charred Tomatoes, Shaved Apple and Pear Salad with Arugula, Pickled Red Onions, and White Balsamic Vinaigrette. The teacher will be Billy Strynkowski.

Registration for the classes is open now at

In addition to the classes, the RCC Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center has a unique theatre space available for use that seats 50 people with tables and up to 95 people without tables for special events. The Center is also available for team building activities such as the one being held for the Hopper House Board on October 19th which will feature a Team Building Culinary Competition. For questions about renting the facility, call 845-875-7700.

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