Secchia student studies in Italy

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Robert Haughton, a student at GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, has been serving an externship in Italy. He recently shared photos and his experiences:

“I have been busy with hands in the pasta dough, enjoying every minute of the experience over here,” he said in an email, adding that he has been making brioche and various pastas.

“It was interesting doing something I have done before but working with different Italian products. Chef (Marco) Velletta is very knowledgeable and comical in the kitchen —  I can see how he makes a great chef-instructor. We also made some gluten-free pasta that day.

“The guys in the kitchen are great, they don’t all speak English, but we all speak the language of food in the kitchen, so it’s not hard to figure out what needs to be done. I’ve been able to move around each station and learn various roles in production: antipasto station, main courses, pasta and vegetables, butcher, etc.

“There are also a couple of guys from India at Metropole (hotel) who make naan every day and have a small Indian section of the buffet. They are very knowledgeable, and it’s fun to work alongside them in the kitchen.

Robert said Chef Fabio arranged for him to do staging at a pizzeria.

“It was a blast!” he said. “I have worked at a bakery before and made pizzas in America at different jobs, but this one night really opened my eyes to a new world. It was just me and Carlo, the head pizza chef, who showed me the ropes of real, Italian pizza making!”

He said he is grateful to Secchia program director Dan Gendler and Chef Gilles Renusson for helping to arrange the externship opportunity: “It is definitely life-changing, and I won’t forget what I have learned here. I appreciate the experiences I have have had and places I have been because I am a part of Secchia Institute, and connected to this community that I am proud to represent.”

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