RVTC culinary arts instructor earns national award

Chef David Groenewold. Photo provided

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – River Valley Technical Center’s Culinary Arts instructor Chef David Groenewold traveled to Las Vegas, Nev. in July to receive the National ProStart Educator of Excellence award for the State of Vermont. Culinary Arts instructors from around the country gathered for the ProStart event hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. ProStart is the curriculum provided by the National Restaurant Association to prepare high school students for the rigor of the restaurant industry. During the conference, educators shared best practices in the classroom and were trained in upcoming changes in the ProStart curriculum.

In April of 2022, students in Chef Groenewold’s program competed in the NRAEF ProStart regional culinary competition at the Culinary Institute of America, taking first place at the event for the State of Vermont. His team of RVTC sophomores later traveled to Washington, D.C. for the national competition. “The past few years have been challenging for teaching, especially in technical education, but the students in the Culinary Arts program have risen to this challenge,” said Groenewold. In 2020, the RVTC program took first place in the NRAEF Restaurant Management competition for Vermont and New York. The competition included restaurant concept, menu, and development of a marketing plan for a food service business. The Culinary hot foods team also competed in 2020 and placed third that year. RVTC students have earned generous scholarships to top level culinary schools in the country during these competitions.

The River Valley Technical Center’s Culinary Arts program maintains and runs a full-service restaurant, the RVTC Café, which is open on select Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the school year. The program is available to high school students in the region and provides skills and opportunities for aspiring chefs in our region. “The need for trained, knowledgeable food service workers continues to grow. In addition to learning about careers in the restaurant industry, students gain life-long skills and cooking techniques they can use throughout their life,” Groenewold said.

This is the second time Chef Groenewold has been the recipient of the Educator of Excellence award, earning it previously in 2020. Groenewold’s career in the foodservice industry has spanned three decades. Prior to teaching, he worked in a variety of restaurants and hotels including a five-star Mobile Travel Guide restaurant in Ohio, Sysco food sales in New Orleans, La., as a sous chef at Caesar’s in Lake Tahoe, Calif. and Twenty-one Federal in Washington D.C., and as Chef at the Old Red Mill in Wilmington, Vt.

High school students in the region interested in taking the Culinary Arts program this fall are encouraged to call the River Valley Technical Center at 802-885-8300.

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