Cacao Cucina Line Installed At SUNY Broome’s Culinary & Event Center


New York — The $21.5 million State University of New York Broome Culinary & Event Center is home to the school’s hospitality programs: Culinary Arts: A.O.S. and Event Management: A.O.S. and the online Hospitality Management: A.A.S. As part of a bean-to-bar curriculum the university recently installed a CandyWorx Cacao Cucina line.

Before introducing the idea of the Culinary & Event Center, Dr. Rey Wojdat, senior professor in the Hospitality Programs department, researched equipment and layout, keeping in mind the limitations of an older building. The facility is housed in the former Carnegie Binghamton Public Library. Working with the historical building layout, and the desire to develop a unique curriculum, Wojdat realized a morphable kitchen space would be necessary.

During his research, Wojdat discovered that artisan chocolate making was growing in popularity and determined that a specialty equipment line for bean-to-bar chocolate making would be integrated into the facility and settled on the CandyWorx Cacao Cucina, in part because of its portable equipment for the morphable lab.

“Having a morphable space gives students and faculty the opportunity to use different equipment throughout a course,” says Wojdat. “The kitchens are designed with the most advanced equipment and features available. A lot of research and money went into designing the space for the best use in years to come.”

The equipment features bean cleaning, roasting, winnowing, nib grinding, refining, sifting and tempering, with the chocolate making classes complementing the candy making and chocolatier courses already included in the curriculum.

John Vessa, a senior applications engineer at CandyWorx who developed the Cacao Cucina bean-to-bar line, recently traveled to SUNY Broome to oversee the start-up of the line. CandyWorx gifted the college a 60 kilogram bag of Guatemalan cacao to help the faculty learn the bean-to bar process during the three-day start-up.

“The SUNY chefs were enthusiastic and eager to learn the entire bean-to-bar chocolate process,” says Vessa. “It will be exciting to see and taste the results of their creativity as they move forward.”

In addition to academic programs, the building features non-credit community courses and workshops throughout the year. The project started in 2019, but was delayed because of the pandemic.

Wojdat, responsible for spearheading the development of the facility and the department curriculum, has spent 39 years teaching. “This center will serve a number of disciplines for a variety of students,” he says. “It’s important for students to learn a variety of skills, from culinary basics to business and science, to have a well-rounded view of the culinary world prior to entering the workforce.”