Professional Culinary Alumni Return to Teach and Inspire

January 19, 2018

 

by Len Lathrop with help from Judy King

While it started as a fundraiser for the culinary students’ tour of the North End this spring, this culinary endeavor became so much more. Anyone who was lucky enough to be at Checkers restaurant on Jan. 11 for the special event saw much more value than the $25 they had paid for their meal.

Four Alvirne alumni returned to their alma mater on Jan. 11 for most of the day to work with the culinary students. They ultimately provided a dining experience for 65 diners on Thursday at Checkers that would rival any fine-dining establishment. These professionals, who are at the top of their fields, not only donated their time but also provided the ingredients needed for the course they were making.

Meet the alumni chefs:

  • Joseph Allison, Class of 2002, Executive Chef, Nashua Country Club, Culinary Arts AS; Hospitality Management BS, Southern NH University

How did the Alvirne Culinary Arts program help you in your career path?

It opened my eyes to the passion I have for food and making people happy. If the culinary program did not exist at AHS, I am not sure where I would be today.

What is your favorite meal to prepare for family or friends?

I like to cook everything. I have them decide what they love to eat and prepare it for them. I do enjoy making comfort foods.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to hang out with my beautiful wife, Krystal, who is also an Alvirne Culinary Arts graduate (2003) and my three kids Joey, Julia and Jillian. I am the head coach for my son’s travel soccer team, and we have won the 2016 and 2017 NHSL State Championships. I am also a big Patriots fan!

  • Nicole Barreira, Class of 2002, Corporate Chef, T-BONES and Cactus Jack, Marketing Manager, Great NH Restaurants, Culinary Arts AS; Hotel/Restaurant Management BS; Master degree Organizational Leadership; Graduate Certificate Marketing, Southern NH University

How did the Alvirne Culinary Arts program help you in your career path?

The program provided a solid culinary foundation for my future and confidence in the industry. Having experienced the program and venturing into the culinary field during and soon after, I felt I had a tremendous advantage in so many areas. Knowledge of the commercial kitchen, equipment, verbiage, knife skills, prep skills, and work ethic required were so helpful.

What is your favorite meal to prepare for family or friends?

Anything Asian. I love Asian food. Its variety. Temperatures, sweetness, heat, textures, etc. My fav!

What do I like to do in my spare time?

I spend 99 percent of my spare time with my family. I have three beautiful children: Chloe 7, Gabriella 6, and Axl 1. The kids, daddy and I go on lots of adventures, travel, and eat at as many food establishments as possible.

  • Matt Hankins, Class of 2002, Senior Chef/Function Coordinator, Southern NH Medical Center , Culinary Arts/Baking concentration AS; Hospitality, Administration, BS, Southern NH University, Alvirne Culinary Arts Program Advisory Committee member and Hudson Memorial 8th Grade Career Day program presenter.

How did Alvirne Culinary Arts program help you in your career path?

It was a stepping stone to my culinary career. When I started high school I didn’t know what career I wanted after school. As I child, I was always in the kitchen cooking with my mother. I remember baking cookies on snowy days. I learned solid everyday cooking skills in high school. After falling in love with the Culinary Arts program, I realized that I wanted to further my education and attend culinary school.

What is your favorite meal to prepare for family or friends?

Italian! There is just something about Italian food that makes me happy. Favorite dessert, I couldn’t even pick just one! I love sugar! Éclairs, cakes, pies, cookies and Panna Cotta (Italian dessert).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time, what’s that? I am always busy; when I’m not working I’m usually with friends or family. I keep busy with my new 5-month-old daughter, Harper!

  • Jason Seavey, Class of 2001, Executive Chef, Havenwood Heritage Heights Retirement Community, Former Sous Chef, Bedford Village Inn, Culinary Arts, Johnson and Wales University, two years

How did Alvirne Culinary Arts program help you in your career path?

My love for culinary started with a trip to Disney World with my grandparents. I was especially drawn to the different foods and restaurants. We continued to take trips and I experienced each journey through food. When I was 14 years old, I started as a dishwasher at Connie’s Restaurant in Hudson. The organized chaos of the kitchen felt like a second home to me. The Alvirne Culinary Arts program gave me a true taste of the industry, confirmed my interest and gave me an early strong foundation. After high school, I served in the Marines and have continued to carry the camaraderie of the military into my work in the culinary field.

What is your favorite meal to prepare for family or friends?

I pride myself on making the best of what I have to work with. But I am partial to Asian and South Pacific flavor profiles.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Hunt, forage, fish and spend time with my two boys.

In addition to these alumni chefs, there is one more professional, that being the Alvirne Culinary Arts Director and instructor, Chef Davis Bressler, who brings a world of experience to the program. Chef Bressler holds an associate’s degree from Paul Smith College and brings a wealth of expertise and background to future culinarians. He previously held the position of executive chef at St. Joseph Hospital, Sloan School of Business at MIT and the Stonehedge Inn.

As Alvirne’s Culinary Arts teacher, he instructs Alvirne’s two-year Culinary Arts program and a Pastry and Baking course. Chef Bressler’s students have a solid foundation to start their culinary arts career including earning up to six college credits at Nashua Community College.

Guests lucky enough to experience the culinary event on Thursday, Jan. 11 at Checkers Restaurant were treated to a menu that would hold its own in any white tablecloth restaurant:

 

SOUP

Local “Three Beet Soup” White, Golden and Red Beet Purees with Goat Cheese Mousse and Prosciutto Crisps

Chef Jason Seavey ‘01-

 

SALAD

Brussels Sprouts, Baby Kale, Smoked Bacon, Pecans, Blue Cheese, Brown Sugar Bourbon Vinaigrette

Chef Nicole Barreira ‘02-

 

INTERMEZZO

Citrus Fennel Salad

Chef Dave Bressler and Alvirne High School Students

 

ENTREE

Braised Beef Short Rib, Potato Puree

Reduced Braising Liquid, Crispy Fried Leeks

Chef Joe Allison CEC ‘02- Nashua Country Club

 

DESSERT

Blackberry Panna Cotta with Blackberry Coulis

Chef Matt Hankins ‘02-

 

TABLE BREADS and ROLLS and FINGER DESSERTS

Chef Dave Bressler and Alvirne High School students

 

While there were many accolades from those patrons fortunate enough to have a “place at the table,” many wanted to know when it could happen again and were amazed at the excellence on all levels.

“The dinner was really excellent, but for me, the high point was seeing how far some of the Alumni chefs have gone since leaving the program. Hudson can be very proud of the Culinary Arts program and the CTE in general,” said John Knowles, longtime Hudson community leader.

Judy King, CTE Business & Community Liaison, who had the chance to see many of the students on Friday morning, commented, “(This event was) the best thing I have ever done. It was a most amazing and rewarding experience.”

Chef Matt Hankins’ said: “I think the students got a good idea of how a restaurant runs and how communication and teamwork in the kitchen play a crucial part of making things run smoothly.”

These students helped with the dining experience: Hannah Kraemer, Amanda Oslizlo, Brianna Gore, Sarah Hansen, David LaSalle, Dylan Levesque, Megan McCoy, Liberty Pelletier, Madison Pitre, Georgia Brown, Tyler Clegg, Brendan Douglas, Sydney Dubuque, Frank Harlow, Madison Hoyt, Tagan-Novalei Land, Calysta Mourousas, Aaryn Noonan, Milenna Sena, Ashley Sheridan, Morgan Williams and Sarina Williams.