PUTNAM COUNTY, N. Y. -- Classes are underway at the newly opened Tilly Foster Educational Institute in Southeast, a cooperative educational center for culinary arts at Putnam County's Tilly Foster Farm.
Officials from Putnam County, Putnam Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, and local government gathered on Tuesday, Sept. 13, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the fall opening of the facility. The newly renovated space includes test kitchens, classrooms and other amenities.
Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES is leasing the space from Putnam County, officials said, to offer culinary arts training in partnership with with local high school districts. So far, students from Mahopac, Katonah, Chappaqua and Carmel are enrolled in classes, but officials said enrollment is ongoing.
Putnam County officials, who renovated the facility, say the rental income will help the county pay for maintaining the historic property. County officials also have plans for continuing education training for adults along with a restaurant and other amenities at Tilly Foster.
“The reopening of Tilly Foster as the county’s first public institute for career education offers a diversity of benefits by putting an under-used county asset to work,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell.
Odell gathered with James M. Ryan, district superintendent and chief executive officer of Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, other BOCES officials, State Sen. Sue Serino, administrators, staff and students for the opening ceremony.
County officials are also expecting to expand services at Tilly Foster by adding a Pre-K program and more programs for adults, in cooperation with other private partners, such as Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Tilly Foster Educational Institute was designed as a destination for tourists and residents of the county. When BOCES is not in session, use of the state-of-the-art teaching kitchen and classrooms will be open to veterans, libraries, schools, seniors and non-profits, county officials said.
County officials also plan to have their own version of "Top Chef." And Tilly’s Table, which is set to open on April 1, 2017, will offer the Hudson Valley region an educational farm-to-table dining experience, using produce from local farms, officials said.