A new culinary institute is quickly turning those with a hobby to cook into gourmet chefs.
It's part of Holyoke Community College's brand new, multi-million dollar culinary arts program.
It's designed to line up students with jobs in a field looking for the cooks of tomorrow.
It's all hands on deck at the brand new culinary arts institute, home to dozens of students from Holyoke Community College.
The Race Street building opened its doors for the first time Monday and heads are already turning at the five kitchens, three classrooms, and brand new equipment.
"It definitely gives us experience to learn it now in hand, so when we are out in the field, we already have experience with it," said Amber Duby
Duby, like many students, is hard at work today for the 'restaurant class', where students learn to cook and serve an elegant meal.
The institute offers college-level courses, as well as adult education, and even basic how to's for the hobby chef.
Department chair Warren Leigh is overseeing the rather busy kitchen operations as this meal comes to life.
"They have started putting plates together last semester. Now, we are actually doing it for customers if you will," Leigh noted.
Many of these students dream about opening a place of their own. From classroom discussions to all out food prep, the school has them ready when the time comes.
"I am currently working on opening up my own bakery business and it's up and running, page being built, and so far doing Christmas parties, birthdays, stuff like that," Duby said.
The Palmer native is slowly, but surely, getting 'Any Day Pastry' off the ground.
Other students will turn to MGM Springfield, which is expected to hire hundreds of cooks for the casino come this fall.
Leigh told Western Mass News that it's a good time to get in the business with a shortage in the region.
"There are jobs available. We are just hoping to get our students out there and trained and ready to go," Leigh added.
Residents can see the building for themselves during the Celebrate Holyoke Festival on August 26.
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