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Culinary student's recipe featured at Owego restaurant
Hall began an internship this fall at The Owego Kitchen, located at 13 Lake Street and owned and operated by Ike and Julie Lovelass. The opportunity arose thanks to Angel Mead, work experience coordinator for BOCES.
 “Angel contacted us about the possibility of bringing on a BOCES culinary student,” Julie Loveless said. “Our initial conversation focused on the fact that since the pandemic started, providing enough hours for our current full-time employees had been a challenge, and that bringing on an intern would potentially take away those employee hours and would really stretch our payroll.
 “Angel presented this challenge to Emme,” Lovelass said, “and Emme graciously agreed to work as an unpaid intern until she proved herself and we were at a point of being able to give her hours without impacting other employees’ earnings.”
 Lovelass said the “unpaid” part of Hall’s internship will be re-examined after the holidays.
 Emme Hall’s choice for soup of the day was chicken cordon bleu soup. The Owego Kitchen is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, serving breakfast, lunch, coffee and sweets with contemporary twists, according to the café’s website. The restaurant also specializes in homemade dishes “with plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options.”
 Lovelass said that Hall is flourishing in this new role.
 “Emme is very confident in her abilities and I believe that stems from her teachings at BOCES,” Lovelass said. “She’s a good listener and follows directions carefully. Her takeaway (so far) is that she sees that in a kitchen, you’re always working, always busy. We are teaching her ‘if you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean.’”
 Emme Hall’s career goal is to be the executive chef at a fancy 5-star restaurant - on the beach. But for now, she’s quite pleased with her current gig.
 “It’s very different than what I thought it would be,” said Hall of her first restaurant experience. “It’s really interesting to see how people work, and how things fit together. It’s much different than the class at BOCES. At school we’re learning so much, but we’re usually working on our own thing, or in a small group. At the restaurant, you’re one piece of a big puzzle that has to fit.”
 Hall said communication is critical in a working kitchen.
 “It’s so important to make everything work well,” she said. “When we get an order, we call it out to the chef, and she’ll repeat it back. We sometimes repeat things so we know everything is correct.”
 Julie Lovelass is a big fan of giving Culinary Arts students such as Hall real-world experience in area restaurants.
 “It's important for local students to get real-life experience. We often think of culinary classes being about chocolate chip cookies and fun stuff but it's so much more,” Lovelass said. “Last Sunday, Emme and I focused on washing dishes. There’s nothing fun or glamorous about washing dishes and sanitation, but it's reality when you work in a kitchen. Understanding and learning the real basics of how a kitchen works will make Emme a better chef, employee and co-worker.”
 It’s an experience Hall said she’d recommend to others.
 “You really need to be in the middle of a busy kitchen to understand how it all works,” she said. “It’s so fast-paced, so you learn so much. I love the pace.”
 Lovelass said that in addition to having her chosen soup highlighted, Hall was also invited to take part in The Owego Kitchen’s upcoming chili cookoff.
 “It’ll be on Black Friday, between all our chefs, and we’ve included Emme in the competition,” Lovelass said. “There will be a total of five chilis served, and Emme’s making a firehouse chili. We’ll judge the contest based on whose chili sells the most, and the winner gets the bragging rights.”
 Diners may walk in on Sunday or order online for pickup or delivery. 
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Broome-Tioga BOCES   435 Glenwood Road Binghamton, NY 13905 Phone: (607) 763-3300
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