The Culinary Arts Program at Emerson Vocational High School has been in existence for over 50 years. It began as the brainchild of the late Peter gust Economou, a world renowned hotelier and former President of the Board of Education. The first graduating class consisted of six students.
The program has changed significantly since then. Emerson's student population has increased steadily since the '60s, and currently has approximately 400 students enrolled in the program.
The Emerson School of Hospitality has been developed to meet the changing needs of its students. The program is designed to:
- Provide Emerson students with a program emphasizing academic achievement in conjunction with career preparation.
- Update training and technology to meet workplace needs and expectations.
- Facilitate increased student knowledge and understanding of career availability and employment opportunities in the hospitality industry.
- Improve instruction through an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum design.
- Provide a more advanced, ethnically diverse and contemporary quality education -- while reducing the cost of the project to the school district.
- Increase Hospitality Program enrollment.
In its new, state-of-the-art Chippewa Street facility, the Emerson School of Hospitality will provide students with the hands-on experience they need to meet the employment challenges of the next century.
The project has been developed as continuous, self-sustaining educational program through resources from the Buffalo Board of Education and the New York State Education Department, with additional revenues derived from the sale of food products and services to the public. The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation has provided a $78,000 grant for two distance learning laboratories.
The project's innovative, collaborative design is a joint effort of area businesses, in conjunction with local government, joining with education to provide opportunities for vocational students to make a successful transition into the hospitality workforce and higher education. Its visionary plan incorporated the recent recommendations of the NYS Education Department with regard to Regents standards for all high school students. The Emerson pilot proposal to meet these standards will be become a national model for vocational education.
Key partnerships include the State University of New York College at Buffalo, Erie Community College, International Food Service Executives Association, and the American Culinary Federation of Greater Buffalo.