O/N students excel in culinary and welding competitions

Posted 5 April 2022 at 8:21 am

Photos and information courtesy of Orleans/Niagara BOCES: From left include the Culinary ProStart team of Grace Hodkin (Newfane), Melanie Nagel (Newfane), Troy Kelly (Medina) and Angelo Soliday (Medina). The team won $5,000 which will be used to fund their trip to the national competition.

The Culinary ProStart team of Troy Kelly, Angelo Soliday, Melanie Nagel and Grace Hodkin brought home the first place trophy to the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center from the NYSRAEF (New York State Restaurant Association Educational Foundation) ProStart Invitational.

The competition was held March 25-26 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where the team, taught by Chef James Atzrott, competed against several other teams from New York State.

The Orleans/Niagara team was handpicked because of their good grades, attendance and professionalism. The students showcased their knowledge, passion, creativity and skills in front of educators and industry leaders and the public at the event.

The team created their own menu and wowed the judges with beetroot gnocchi with lemon ricotta and walnut crumble, curried cod with mussels and raspberry cranachan which is a Scottish dessert.

“It was an awesome experience for them,” said Chef Atzrott. “They worked very hard and they were very emotional when they won.  We were all ecstatic.”

The team won $5,000 which will be used to fund their trip to the national competition where they will compete on May 6-8 in Washington, DC.

Pictured from left include Sawyer Braley (ON BOCES), Isaiah Reading (KenTon BOCES), Tyler Gibas (Ellicotville BOCES), Collin Hoffman (LaGuidice BOCES), Thomas May (ON BOCES) and Jenette Grizer (Ellicottville BOCES).

Two Orleans/Niagara BOCES students took home the top prizes at the Niagara Frontier Weld Off this past weekend.

Welding students Sawyer Braley (Albion), a senior at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center, and Thomas May (Niagara Wheatfield), a junior at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center, placed in the top six at the competition.

There were 27 students at the event, which was held at Northland Training Center in Buffalo on March 26th. The students competed for $950 cash prizes and a $1,000 scholarship.

The event included raffle giveaways, hands-on demonstrations with Dynabrade and the world acclaimed metal sculpture, Barbie the Welder, who gave an inspiring speech to the crowd.

According to the American Welding Society, the industry will encounter a shortage of about 300,000 welders by 2024. Orleans/Niagara BOCES is doing its part getting the next generation of welders prepared for the future.