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Chef Kalble - Top Chef

Top chef

Local instructor named 2016 Culinary Arts Teacher of the Year

By Sean Flynn Staff writer Newport Daily News

NEWPORT - Steven Kalble, chief instructor in the culinary program of the Newport Area Career & Technical Center, has been named the 2016 Culinary Arts Teacher of the Year.

Heather R. Singleton, chief operating officer of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association and its education foundation, made the announcement this week.

“This is great,” Kalble said Thursday. “I love the position I have and have had a nice group of kids the past few years, kids who are really conscientious and wanting to do a good job.”

“We have 40 kids in the program - the max - and we have a waiting list,” he said.

Kalble, who has been at NACTC for nine years, works to give his students maximum exposure to what's going on in the culinary and hospitality fields, so they see all the employment opportunities their culinary skills open up.

Late last month, the large kitchen at the school was used as a food preparation base for many of the chefs who cooked and gave demonstrations at the annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival sponsored by the Preservation Society of Newport County. It was a first for NACTC students working on the event.

The students prepared food that Jacques Pepin, the internationally recognized French chef who has starred in multiple television shows, used in his cooking demonstration at Marble House, Kalble said.

There was a Wine and Rosecliff Gala one night, and a Vintner Dinner-Women in Whites, prepared by five female chefs, on another night, and the students helped with food prep for those dinners with acclaimed chefs, Kalble said.

There were 3,000 visitors to the grand tastings at Marble House that weekend, and 1,000 wine glasses would come in at a time to go through the dishwashers in the NACTC kitchen, he said.

The kids blanched 60 lobsters for one meal. For a Sunday brunch, the students made croissants, scones, Danish and apple cake for about 100 people.

“It was really productive for the students,” Kalble said. “It was like a fine-tuned machine.”

“The students helped with all that,” he said. “They saw all the different kinds of jobs you can do. I didn't hear one belly ache. The chefs who came over here were so much fun for the students to work with.”

“I was so proud of the kids,” Kalble said.

Not only did the students like the experience, they also earned $10 an hour.

Students from the program will be working over the Columbus Day weekend for catering companies that are servicing five weddings, Kalble said.

In the past school year and in the previous year, his students finished second in the all-state vocational and technical school culinary arts competition called ProStart.

The students are judged by experts from the culinary field and one of the students' tasks was to prepare a fourcourse meal in an hour.

The students received scholarship offers from various colleges and culinary schools as a result of these competitions, he said.

“They do an excellent job,” Kalble said.

Kalble can tell many success stories about former students, such as the one about a former student working at Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers, Florida, considered one of the top 10 artisan chocolate companies in the country. But he likes to cite the many graduates who are working locally at places like Blackstone Catering of Middletown.

The public has the opportunity to enjoy the results of the students' cooking skills at the Colonial Dining Room in the NACTC building, which is open for breakfast and lunch Wednesdays through Fridays. The prices are low.

Kalble was an instructor in the pastry department at Johnson & Wales University in Providence for 15 years before coming to NACTC. His predecessor as culinary arts instructor, Bill Mackin, called him and suggested he apply for the job.

He grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, and moved to Newport in 1976 when he was a student at Johnson & Wales University, which he graduated from in 1978.

Kalble initially worked as a college student at the former Cliff Walk Manor, now The Chanler, and has cooked since then at several local restaurants including the Castle Hill Inn.

Flynn@NewportRI.com

'This is great. I love the position I have and have had a nice group of kids the past few years, kids who are really conscientious and wanting to do a good job.' STEVEN KALBLE

Newport Area Career & Technical Center culinary program chief instructor

Steven Kalble, the chief culinary instructor at the Newport Area Career & Technical Center, recently was named the 2016 Culinary Arts Teacher of the Year by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association.

Dave Hansen | Staff photographer

Sean Flynn Staff writer Newport Daily News
flynn@newportri.com