July 4, 2022

Culinary Arts at the HACTC

Najae Brooks

My name is Najae Brooks and I am 18 years of age. I am a senior at Hartford High School. My hobbies are dancing, singing and shopping. I started the HACTC Culinary Arts program as a junior in 2020. Culinary Arts was originally my second choice program, but from the moment I stepped in the Culinary Arts program, I felt welcomed by my teacher Chef Patrick Gobeille. 

The first word in our HACTC mission statement is Respect. In the HACTC everyone is highly respected and respectful and they accept you for who you are. We as a classroom respect each other and work as a team.  When we started as a team we didn’t know each other well and working together was a little frustrating, but with Chef’s help and encouragement, we learned to talk as a team.  

I have learned so much about safety and sanitation, knife skills, and different equipment in the kitchen. I learned how to be respectful of using the equipment in the kitchen and how to use them properly. For example I learned how to use the convection oven, the mixer, and the griddle, etc. We have to respect each other in the kitchen. We have to say things like “behind,” “walking sharp,” and “oven open” so we do not cause any accidents with each other. We always use good communication as a team. Respect is also important in serving our community and customers. We serve customers in the student-run restaurant, the Getaway, and through catering opportunities. We also donate food to the Haven. 

These skills are valuable to learn because they’ll help us to work with other people later in life, in other jobs, schools and in the community.

-- Najae Brooks