CATEC’s Culinary Arts program is thankful for its partnership with Farmington Country Club and its commitment to fostering culinary careers for CATEC students. In the past year, two Culinary Arts students have begun work in Farmington’s kitchens while continuing their educations in the community.
Jose Aparicio-Rafael came to CATEC’s Culinary Arts program as a senior Charlottesville High School student. He was already working part-time in Farmington’s kitchens when he began taking classes at CATEC. Now that he has graduated from CHS, he is continuing his employment at Farmington while he furthers his education at Piedmont Virginia Community College. He began working in a garde manger position at Farmington’s Grill. Garde manager includes the preparation of cold items such as salads and desserts. He mostly works during morning hours so he can attend PVCC in the afternoon, allowing him the ability to move into pizzas, the grill, and sautéing. Culinary Arts instructor Chef Josh Davis says that Jose is a “resourceful, considerate, diligent, and attentive student has a wonderful sense of humor and loves to make people laugh. I know he is a wonderful addition to the Farmington family as a full-time employee in their kitchens.”
Ashleigh Payne was also a CHS senior when she came to CATEC last year. She gained employment with Farmington Country Club as part of CATEC’s Culinary Arts interview event in May 2022. Ashleigh decided to come back to CATEC’s Culinary Arts program as a post-graduate to finish her two-year culinary training sequence. She also began in garde manger and for the past four months has been cooking pizzas at the Grill. She says she enjoys working at Farmington because, “I like the people there. They are really accepting and teach me things every day.” Chef Davis says Ashleigh is “motivated, kind, helpful, humble, honest, and is a wonderful student. She is always willing to jump in wherever is needed to help out, no matter if it’s cooking, setting up, or cleaning. She is always a team player.”
In spring 2022, both Jose and Ashleigh participated in CATEC’s School-to-Work Signing Day Event. This event celebrates CATEC students who enter the workforce in their CATEC fields upon graduation. These students were given $175 gift cards to Red Wing Shoes of Charlottesville to purchase industry-approved shoes as well as $150 worth of industry gifts courtesy of the CATEC Foundation Board. Jose and Ashley received a professional knife set.
Both CATEC and Farmington are pleased with these graduates’ success. Director Stephanie Carter says of CATEC’s partnerships, “CATEC prides itself on remaining true to its mission to provide quality career employment opportunities to our students. Together with our sponsors, we are helping these young people begin careers in our community.” Farmington Chef Charlie Figueroa says of his two CATEC employees, “I cannot express how appreciative we are with CATEC and the quality of student we were able to attain. Jose and Ashleigh are doing great in their separate kitchens and seem to have bright futures. Thank you for cultivating their professionalism and culinary foundation. We look forward to continue working with CATEC.”