World Cafe open at Mid-Coast School of Technology

Open Tuesday-Thursday
By Beth A. Birmingham | Mar 09, 2013
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Mikala Jillson, a junior from Oceanside High School East, fills orders for the World Cafe at Midcoast School of Technology March 6. The annual cafe allows the public to sample the culinary arts students' works. Open Tuesdays through Thursdays until April, breakfast is served 8:30 to 10 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Rockland — The Mid-Coast School of Technology Culinary Arts Program has opened its doors to the public.

Renamed the World Cafe, the annual event — now in its 25th year — is open Tuesdays through Thursdays for breakfast and lunch for a minimal fee. This year they have modified their menu to include various cuisines throughout the world.

Chef Instructors Josh Gamage and Carol Pelletier began work on the menu for the eight-week event nearly a month ago.

"The cafe is open to the public from the end of February through April break," Gamage said. Breakfast is served 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. and lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.


Carol Pelletier, a 16-year veteran culinary arts instructor at Mid-Coast School of Technology in Rockland, has been selected at Maine's first Association for Career and Technical Education Fellowship recipient.

The ACTE program is a yearlong program geared toward individuals with a desire to develop their leadership skills and become more familiar with the processes used by policymakers in the development and implementation of laws, regulations and other public policies at the local, state and federal levels. Fellows are responsible for leadership development, public policy and professional development.

“This is an incredible honor,” Pelletier said about her appointment. It allows for training to move up in the culinary career path, she said.

Pelletier attended the ACTE National Policy Seminar March 4-6 in Arlington, Va., where she met with members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

The weekly cuisines started with traditional American foods, such as burgers, pasta, and moved to authentic Mexican dishes the week of March 5-7. The week of March 12-14 will feature Irish dishes in honor of St. Patrick's Day, including homemade corned beef. Other cuisines to be tasted will be from France, Italy, Asia, and closing out with traditional Maine dishes.

The growing program has a total of 60 participants, all juniors and seniors from area high schools.

"The students learn how a restaurant functions," said Gamage, from the culinary techniques and strategies standpoint to the baking and pastry art techniques. A graduate from Rockland District High School himself, Gamage said "we want to see these kids go to school."

"We would have a lot more associate degree students if we had a local community college," Gamage said.

The closest is currently Southern Maine Community College in Portland and  Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor.

"Even a Many Flags situation would work," he said explaining many of the students that attend MCST are looking to better prepare themselves for the workforce after high school graduation, knowing they will most likely not be attending college.

The culinary program at MCST is accredited through the American Culinary Federation. That means a student attending the two-year program will become a certified Junior Culinary Specialist and leave the institution with a certification to help with job placement.

Pelletier was recently selected as Maine's first Associate for Career and Technical Education Leadership Fellow. She went to Washington, D.C. to receive the honor which will allow her to receive further training to take the next step in her culinary arts career. Pelletier has been at MCST for 16 years.

Following the World Cafe experience, Gamage and Pelletier work with local businesses to place as many students as possible for summer employment. The Slipway Restaurant in Thomaston, Cafe Miranda and Rock City Cafe in Rockland, Natalie's in Camden, and The Badger Cafe & Pub in Union are just some of the businesses that assist in this effort.

In addition to the cafe, the MCTS culinary program does catering for nonprofit organizations as well.

"Otherwise who would eat all the food?" Gamage said.

The school currently has between eight and 12 programs that are state and national certified, according to Robert Deetjen, MCST student services coordinator.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or by email at


Angelica Hickman and Miranda Balekas, both juniors at Oceanside High School East, work the dough during MCST's World Cafe preparation March 6. The culinary arts students feature various cuisines for breakfast and lunch during their eight-week open cafe. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Rachel Dorsky, a junior from Camden Hills Regional High School, removes a pan of raspberry bars from the oven at Midcoast School of Technology. As part of the culinary arts program, Dorsky and classmates are running an eight-week World Cafe, which is open to the public Tuesday through Thursdays. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Sloan Turner, a senior from Camden Hills Regional High School, does some of the line cooking preparation during MCST's World Cafe. The culinary arts students feature various cuisines throughout the eight-week program, open to the public for breakfast and lunch. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Washing dishes was part of the action during the Midcoast School of Technology's World Cafe preparation. The culinary arts students share all their hospitality knowledge with the public during the eight-week program. From left, Jazmine Richardson, a senior from Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, and Trittany Penn, a junior from Oceanside High School East, get the job done. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Patrons Ken and Kathy Ilvonen of Owls Head enjoy a sampling of Mexican cuisine at the World Cafe at Midcoast School of Technology. This is the second year the couple has been back to taste the delicious meals the culinary arts students put out during the eight-week event. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Stirring the tres leches sauce is Olivia Hawes' job in preparing Mexican cuisine for the World Cafe meal March 6 at MCST in Rockland. The senior from Medomak Valley High School is a culinary arts student participating in the eight-week cafe open to the public. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Carol Pelletier, a 16-year veteran culinary arts instructor at Mid-Coast School of Technology in Rockland, has been selected at Maine's first ACTE Fellowship recipient.
Comments (8)
Posted by: Mid-Coast School of Technology | Mar 13, 2013 10:18

I would like to clear up the comment "even a Many Flags would work."  What I said was that I very much support the Many Flags proposal and I think it is precisely what this area needs.  Thanks for all the kind comments and you can show your support by coming in and enjoying some of the great food the students are putting together this year.

Posted by: Julie P. Cawley | Mar 12, 2013 14:14

Congratulations to the Culinary Arts students and their teachers, Josh Gamage and Carol Pelletier for encouraging this important career.

Posted by: Mid-Coast School of Technology | Mar 11, 2013 08:41

Side note: the Cafe' is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays each week

Posted by: Reade Brower | Mar 10, 2013 13:11

This is such a cool "win win win" for students, communities, while creating a talented pool of new workers for our local restaurants! This is out of the box thinking and appears to be a learning through real life experience for the students. We need more adult mentors like Josh Gamage and Carol Pelletier - thank you for providing these kids with skills and the "can do" attitude.

Posted by: Nikki Whitman | Mar 10, 2013 11:56

Breakfast 8:30-10:00

Lunch 11:30-1:00

Posted by: Susan Watts | Mar 10, 2013 10:20

Congratulations Carol!

Posted by: Jason Haynes | Mar 10, 2013 09:01

This is terrific.  Great to see this upbeat, positive news article.  Just more of why I love it here in the midcoast!

Posted by: Sylvia E Birmingham | Mar 09, 2013 18:31

Great  Story.  We need more positive stories on our schools and students!

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