Tilly Foster Educational Institute Opens
Providing State-of-the-Art Culinary Instruction


Pictured above: Culinary students gather in the new kitchen at Tilly Foster with Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, BOCES teacher Christina Holic and teaching assistant Ada DiCecco, PNW BOCES Superintendent Dr. James Ryan, and New York State Senator Sue Serino. Pictured below: PNW BOCES administrators and staff with Putnam County officials cutting the ribbon on the new Tilly Foster Educational Institute this week. The state-of-the-art equipment shines in the new Culinary Arts facility at the Tilly Foster Educational Institute, which opened recently.

The sparkling surfaces of the spanking-brand-new professional ovens, stoves, refrigerators, sinks and work surfaces of the Tilly Foster Educational Institute matched the excitement of the high school students enrolled in its Culinary Arts program, which began accepting students this fall. That excitement was echoed by the school administrators and public officials present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility’s opening this week.

“We look forward to a wonderful partnership between our BOCES and Putnam County as we celebrate the opening of the Tilly Foster Educational Institute,” said Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Superintendent Dr. James Ryan at the ceremony.

Hosted by PNW BOCES Director Cathy Balestrieri and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, the ceremony also included New York State Senator Sue Serino and other local officials as well as BOCES administrators, board members and staff.

BOCES is leasing the Tilly Foster Farm property from Putnam County, in a win-win situation for both parties. The historic Tilly Foster Farm has been renovated to house a fully equipped culinary school for BOCES students, and the county will take in revenue for the use of the facility via the lease agreement. Renovation work began on the facility over the summer.

“All of the efforts and hard work put forth by Putnam County in readying the facility for Tech Center students in September was clearly evident,” said Balestrieri. “The attention to detail, the marrying of function and aesthetics, were impressive and went beyond expectations. The Tech Center culinary program at Tilly Foster Farm is being delivered in a state-of-the-art facility. Putnam County is to be recognized and congratulated in moving forward this exciting, new collaboration.”

The PNW BOCES programs at Tilly Foster include culinary arts education for high school students with a farm-to-table concept as well as placement in local internships. The institute also offers evening adult culinary programs as part of its Continuing Education program. Other BOCES Tech programs are expected to expand into the facility in the future.

BOCES Culinary Arts teacher Christina Holic, who instructs the students currently enrolled in the program, said, “I feel blessed, inside and out, to be here in this incredible state-of-the-art environment. The students are receptive, engaged, and excited to be here!”

The students enrolled in the program so far hail from Mahopac, Katonah, Chappaqua and Carmel, and in the future more districts are expected on board. Admissions is ongoing, and interested students are encouraged to enroll throughout the year.

Lindsay Ulich, a junior from Carmel High School, said teacher Holic and teaching assistant Ada DiCecco are “amazing. They have such patience, and they show us how to do things until we get it right—they never give up.” Ulich said she is excited to be in the Culinary program, perfecting her cooking skills. “This facility is incredible. All the equipment is so new.”

PNW BOCES Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen said that the collaboration between Putnam County and BOCES is an exciting one. “It really exemplifies our mission statement: Service and Innovation Through Partnership.”