"I've been in this business since I was 18. I never had formal training, but I worked for really good chefs."
Chef Carl Poland
Spring Mill Country Club and Manor
Chef Felix Miaeetta, Corporate Executive Chef at Nestle
Over the years Frankford's award-winning culinary program has changed since the Pressure Cooker documentary (2008) and the Rachael Ray Show's Welcome to Room 325 kitchen makeover (2010) broadcasts.
Thirteen years later in Frankford's Culinary Arts kitchen arena is Joseph Bradbury, a caring, determined and realistic culinary teacher who looks forward to going to work every day.
"It was tough at first. I didn't have great working conditions, the equipment was outdated. We now have a new refrigerator, freezer, a new griddle, stove top and induction burners," says Bradbury. We have 60 students a year--the challenge is getting them to pay attention in the classroom when I'm giving a lesson."
Frankford's culinary program is a three-year program administered by the State. "They stay with me all three years through to graduation. Students are required to get National Occupational Competency Testing Institute's(NOCTI) certification in order to graduate."
EDITOR'S NOTE: What is a NOCTI certification?
Pronounced knock-tea, the NOCTI® is an exam that takes its name from the acronym for National Occupational Competency Testing Institute. The exam serves as an end-of-program assessment for high school seniors in all but a few of the career and technical education programs.
He prepares students for careers in the restaurant/culinary fields, using the ServSafe program. Book and practical lessons prepare them for the Serv Safe Industry Cerfication Assessment that occurred in late January. (NOCTI)
EDITOR'S NOTE: ServSafe is an educational program from the National Restaurant Association (NRA). It was developed to educate restaurant workers and other food handlers about the best practices in food safety. (ServSafe)
"I teach them as if we're operating a restaurant. When they see how hard the work is, they say it's not for me. By senior year, there's only 12-14 students left...two or three continue pursuing it as a career."
"I want to get students involved in competitions, so they can win scholarships. This year's competition is the first since COVID.
This year, two students will be competing in a C-CAP Competition. They get students involved in the culinary industry by offering competitions to win scholarships."
"It's a rigorous application process. They write an essay and gather information through research on college scholarships, and they must have two letters of recommendations."
"For the competition, they have to make a perfect French omelette, very yellow, slightly undercooked, folded in three lines, and no brown. They also have to make a salad, getting the cucumbers to stand up in a bowl is not as easy as it sounds. If they make it to the final in early Mlay, they make a chicken dish and a desert. The first round happens the last week of January," Bradbury explains.
In the past, they have had a few students win scholarships.
"I love doing what I'm doing. When I wake up in the morning, I don't mind where I'm going."
Bradbury is married and has two sons and one daughter--who are all barbers. They also like to cook. He also has one grandchild. His wife works for the school district.
His Advice to Students...
"Be prepared to work hard and know that what you're getting into is hard, but rewarding work."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Co-chaired by chef Marcus Samuelsson, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) is a workforce development nonprofit that provides underserved teens a pathway to success.
Annually, C-CAP provides culinary, job and life skills to over 20,000 middle-and-high school students in seven regions across the United States: New York City, Newark, Philadelphia and Camden, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia and Arizona.
Founded in 1990 by Richard Grausman, this 33 year-old nonprofit strives to help further food and social justice, as well as equity and inclusion by providing tools for success. Starting in middle schools, we provide culinary-and-wellness curriculum, and in high schools also provide an integrated approach to employment in the food sector via internships/apprenticeships, job shadows, mentorship, and work opportunities, college and career advising, and higher-education scholarships, along with product and food donations. (C-CAP)