The principal chef, now you’re cooking

Principals are busy managing their schools and dealing with administrative work, but Scotia-Glenville’s high school principal recently carved out time to connect with a student and learn a trade. Principal Peter Bednarek took the Capital Region BOCES Principal’s Challenge and became a CTE student for a day.   

kitchen setting, adult in chefs hat stirring sauce and student in chefs uniform watches
Principal Peter Bednarek with Lily Galluccio

“What a great opportunity for me to not only see what our students are learning but to actually experience some aspects of it as they put their knowledge and skills to practice,” he said.

He chose culinary arts because he has always been interested in it but has relatively little experience in cooking. “I can follow recipes for basic dishes, and I enjoy that,” Principal Bednarek said. “I also learned basic baking skills from my mother. Thanks to her, I can make a great apple pie.” 

This lesson involved making Italian food guided by SG senior Lily Galluccio, a Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech student. “She had everything so well organized and has made cooking like this seem so much easier than I thought it would be. It’s like we’re on a cooking show,” he said. 

making pasta from dough in a silver bowl in a school kitchen setting
Capital Region BOCES Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech

“The BOCES culinary program is top-notch. The chef who runs the facility was engaging, encouraging, and patient with his students and Lily did an incredible job,” Principal Bednarek said. Lily chose the dish, prepped some of the ingredients, and gave detailed instructions.

“I was so impressed with her ability and her coaching, and I am thrilled to hear that she is headed to the Culinary Institute of America next year,” he said. 

When Principal Bednarek was in college he had a deal where he’d cook, and his roommate would do the dishes. He said, “My cooking was not super sophisticated. I did lots of grilling and pasta.”

After this CTE lesson, Bednarek upped his pasta game with homemade gnocchi and tomato sauce. “The process was fairly easy but that is only because I had a great teacher! If I was just following the recipe for that dish – I would not have been successful,” he said.

This experience was not just another day at school for Principal Bednarek, but an opportunity to learn firsthand how a BOCES Career and Technical Education teaches students practical skills to start their careers.

To learn more about the Capital Region BOCES Culinary Arts & Hospitality Technology program, click here.