BCHS culinary arts tapped in top 100
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  Banner Staff Writer
Feb 23, 2014 | 1327 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bradley Central High School’s culinary arts program has once again been named one of the top 100 programs of its kind in the United States.

The school has been named to the annual Hospitality 100 list compiled by Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky., for the 2013-2014 school year.

The list, sometimes also referred to as simply the Hot 100 list, recognizes what the chefs and representatives from the college’s National Center for Hospitality Studies consider to be the top secondary schools in the country for culinary arts programs.

Richmond Flowers, head of Bradley Central’s culinary arts program, said this marks the sixth time the college has recognized the school.

While that may be the case, he said having earned a spot on the list for several years in a row has remained a point of pride.

“It’s a pretty good honor,” Flowers said.

Only four other schools in Tennessee made the most-recent list. They are in Johnson City, Lebanon, Rogersville and Murfreesboro.

The judges compiling the annual list consider a variety of factors when looking at schools’ programs, including how many cooking competitions the schools have won and how much experience students get working in their communities, according to Sullivan’s most recent announcement of the list.

In some cases, the judging committee pays visits to the schools to get up-close looks at what the culinary programs are like.

Flowers said they also look at how many of the students are entering the culinary field after they finish a school’s program.

He estimates about 90 percent of his students who have gone through all five courses in Bradley Central’s culinary arts program either end up entering the workforce right away or attending college or culinary school.

“The idea for the Hot 100 list came from our desire to find and, yes, recruit the country’s best culinary students,” Sullivan University director of High School Programs Joe Leonhardt said in a letter notifying Flowers of Bradley Central’s placement on the list.

“To do so, we decided to reach beyond our regional boundaries and find the best of the best from coast to coast.”

The college noted in its announcement of the most recent list that many of the schools’ students had been winners in the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), ProStart and SkillsUSA cooking competitions in their respective areas.

Flowers said his students have won ProStart and SkillsUSA competitions on the state level, and students are already gearing up to compete in another competition this spring.

Another factor he said has played a part in Bradley Central’s success has been a focus on giving students the chance to serve food to people outside the class on a regular basis.

Flowers said his students have been continuing to gain a lot of experience by catering local events.

Culinary arts students regularly invite visitors to their classroom, “The Bistro,” for daily breakfasts of things like biscuits and a buffet lunch one day each week.

Students can also be called upon to cater local events like parties and banquets. Flowers said this coming Wednesday, students will be making and serving a lunch for 50 people and a dinner for 160 people at events taking place outside the school.

Though Bradley Central has made the list for the past six years, Flowers said it was only last year that Sullivan University introduced a new opportunity for students from schools on the Hospitality 100 list. The teacher representative from each school on the list can choose one student to receive a $15,000 scholarship to study at the university.

Flowers said being on the list has presented a great opportunity for one of his students, and it will be a tough decision to choose who will be receiving the scholarship this year.

He said some of his students have already won scholarships while taking part in competitions.

He said the first time Bradley Central’s program was named to the list, it was “really celebrated.” While being named to the list may not be as much of a shock as it once was, it is something Flowers said the school still take pride in, and the walls of “The Bistro” show off posters recognizing the culinary arts program being in the top 100.

For six years, the list has kept the school in the company of “the best of the best.” Out of the thousands of high schools in the country, the school has made it again.