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Piscataway Campus culinary program certified ‘green’

Culinary program on MCVTS Piscataway Campus certified ‘green’

The culinary arts program on the Piscataway Campus of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools has become the second public school kitchen in the nation to be certified “green” by the Green Restaurant Association in recognition of its sound environmental and sustainability practices.

Last year, the culinary program on the MCVTS Perth Amboy Campus was the first. The two school kitchens also are the only restaurants certified green in Middlesex County.

The Piscataway program, led by its instructor, Chef Thomas Povinelli, earned a one-star rating and 116.54 points in the categories of energy, food, water, waste, disposables, chemical and pollution, and furnishings and building.

Povinelli said that among the changes needed to add to the program’s sustainability score were placing aerators on faucets to reduce water flow, installing LED lighting and construction of container gardens and a compost heap outside the school. He said the school subscribes to the “farm to table” philosophy of using locally grown produce as much as possible.

“The benefit for our students is that we are now able to apply for scholarships,” he said. “A lot of higher education is transitioning to green restaurants, so our students will have a leg up when they apply.”

Povinelli said his students have been invited to a taping of “The Chew,” ABC’s panel show on food, in January to be recognized for the achievement.

The Perth Amboy culinary program, under Chef Stephen Moir, has graduated from a two-star to a three-star rating by the Green Restaurant Association. It was considered groundbreaking when it became the first public school kitchen to be certified green.

The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, the first full-time county vocational school district in the nation, has seven schools on five campuses, in East Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge.