GLENS FALLS — Budding culinary chefs looking to become more “seasoned” at their craft will be able to hone their skills at SUNY Adirondack’s downtown Culinary Arts Center starting in the fall.
The community college is leasing about 8,000 square feet of space at 14 Hudson Ave. for its program. This will include a 100-seat restaurant called Seasoned @ 14 Hudson, which will be open in October, according to culinary arts instructor Matt Bolton.
Bolton gave a tour of the completed space on a recent morning.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” he said.
The college is relocating the culinary arts program from its current space on Bay Road. Bolton said the new facility will give students more room to work.
“We’ve been really cramped in our space and limited for growth,” he said.
In addition to the 2,045-square-foot dining area, there is a 1,045-square-foot teaching kitchen, a 650-square-foot bake shop and two classrooms of nearly 400 square feet each.
The students will get lessons in the teaching kitchen, which will have new equipment including gas stoves with multiple burners, a warming box and a walk-in cooler.
He estimated the equipment cost at between $150,000 and $200,000. It is a big improvement over what students were using, he said.
“A lot of the equipment was really, really beat up and not working properly,” he said.
The bake shop is in a separate room to guard against anyone have any allergies to flour or gluten, according to Bolton.
Bolton said the space is designed so people on the street can peek in and see the students in action in the kitchen.
The college is in the process of obtaining its liquor license.
Bolton said there will be wine and about six types of beer on tap, and he plans to rotate out the beers and feature local craft brews.
The college will rely on local farmers for a lot of the produce used, Bolton said.
Students will have some of their general education classes in regular classrooms. There will also be a study lounge for students to do their other school work, so they do not have to travel back and forth from the Queensbury campus. There will be Wi-Fi access.
“They’ll have everything they need right in here,” Bolton said.
Bolton said the college has already booked the Faculty Council of Community Colleges Fall 2018 Plenary Dinner and a Hawaiian-themed fundraiser for the city of Glens Falls Historical Society. The college is working with the city to line up other events.
There are about 60 to 70 people in the culinary arts program, and Bolton said he anticipated the program would grow. The college has just received approval for its associate degree in culinary and baking.
Moving into the new space took a lot longer than anticipated.
“We were going to do it over spring break in March,” he said.
College officials had hoped to open in May after graduation, but the project was delayed because of the length of time for the public bidding projects, material shortages and requirements of the state grant.
The cost of the project is about $1.88 million. That was nearly $500,000 higher than the initial estimate. College officials had originally believed that because the college is using the space in a private development, it was not subject to competitive bidding and paying prevailing wages.
The project is receiving $600,000 from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and $500,000 from Empire State Development. Other sources of funding include the SUNY Adirondack Foundation, SUNY Construction Fund and $75,000 from the college’s housing association.
Warren County has fronted $1 million for the project in the short term until the college gets reimbursement from the state.