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Advanced Culinary Students to Visit ‘Newport Meat Company’

First trip to Sysco for Culinary students
Philipos Alebachew
Cracking eggs for the wet portion of the ingredients, junior Zarah Abarico prepares cookie dough for the SkillsUSA fundraiser. Abarico and other culinary students will be taking a field trip to learn more about the food industry.. “Sysco and Newport are both food purveyors and supply a lot of the ingredients we purchase,” Culinary teacher Chef Michael Hadobas said. “We’ve been working with the Nevada Restaurant Association for six weeks now to plan this trip, and I think it is something we will do every year.”

To give the culinary students a first-hand look at the meat-packing and distribution industries, Culinary teacher Chef Michael Hadobas is collaborating with the culinary ProStart program to organize their first trip to the Newport Meat Company on Nov. 29.

Under parent company Sysco, Newport Meat Company cuts, processes, packages, and distributes all types of meat throughout the valley using their 50K square-foot facility.

“Sysco and Newport supply a lot of the ingredients and other products we purchase,” Hadobas said. “I think once we get out there, seeing the scale and size of how they [Newport] operate will be really eye-opening for my students.” 

Hadobas is working closely with his friend and colleague Michelle Vietmeier, the Nevada ProStart coordinator, to organize this trip. As the ProStart coordinator, she connects culinary CTE programs with industry professionals, arranges tours, invites guest speakers, and runs the annual state culinary competition.

“I first met Chef Hadobas when he was a high school student preparing for the ProStart State Invitational,” Vietmeier said. “When he graduated from high school, he attended the culinary school where I was a chef instructor. After graduating culinary school, we kept in touch.”

Students will learn about the inspection and grading processes of meat along with all the different careers that exist in the food distribution world.

“The butchery is going to be one of the most valuable things that my students are going to see,” Hadobas said. “I’m a pastry chef. I can do a bit of butchery, but I can’t break down a cow in the way that they [Newport] can. It’s just out of my skill set.”

There will be demonstrations of the meat handling process done by professional chefs and a platform for students to ask questions about the industry.

“I really want to learn what a day in the life of a professional chef looks like,” junior Allyson Ly said. “I’m in this program because I like to cook, so I’m just trying to have an open mind and learn what I can from the trip.”

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