Recent Gateway Community College Graduate and Culinary Associate Has Recipe Featured in Fine Cooking

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Not all food experiments go as planned, but William Stewart’s attempt at a sweet and savory spin on a traditional ginger cookie captured just the right combination of flavor and texture intended.

Using breakfast staples like maple syrup and bacon, Stewart, a culinary associate at Gateway Community College (GCC), developed a cookie that combines crunch, chewiness, and melt-in-the-mouth flavor.  While adding bacon to brownies, cookies and other confections has been a trend for years, not every attempt to combine its smoky flavor with sweets ends well. 

Stewart’s maple-bacon ginger cookies managed to impress the editors of Fine Cooking magazine.  The recipe is featured in the magazine’s special holiday issue for December 2018/January 2019. 

Stewart, a graduate of the Gateway Community College (GCC) Food Service Management Associate degree and Culinary Arts certificate programs, said he modeled the cookie recipe after a maple-bacon cream puff he concocted for one of his final projects at GCC.  The cream puff was a success and he thought it would be interesting to bring those flavors to a holiday cookie recipe.  

It is the second time that Stewart’s recipes have appeared in the pages of the national magazine.  His recipe for curried yogurt potato salad and cloud eggs with spinach salad were featured in the April/May 2018 issue.  

A picture of the maple-bacon ginger cookie, artfully displayed alongside other cookies, is on the cover of the magazine.  Stewart, who received his associate degree from GCC in May 2017, also has a psychology degree from Syracuse University and originally thought he wanted to pursue a career in psychology.  He always had an interest in cooking, particularly baking, and decided to enroll at GCC.  He found the culinary path suited him and Stephen Fries, professor and program coordinator of the Hospitality Management Program, very supportive in arranging an internship at Fine Cooking magazine.  

Stewart worked as a test kitchen assistant for Fine Cooking during his internship.  He was eventually hired to continue working for the magazine, where his job entailed trying out recipes sent by cookbook authors, editors, bloggers, and others to determine if they pass the taste test and can be reproduced.  Stewart noted that one of the challenges of reproducing those recipe submissions involved breaking down chef jargon and making sure that the recipe measurements, sometimes for food made in quantity, were accurate when reduced for use by home chefs.  

At GCC, Stewart purchases all food and beverage products needed for courses and catering events, faculty uniforms, and small wares equipment.  He also works with students while supporting catering operations, an area of substantial growth in the Culinary Department.  Stewart noted that the increased growth in the catering operation in recent months provides students with even more learning opportunities than before.  Sheila Solernou, director of Allied Health & Nursing, who also oversees the culinary program, said that Stewart is a great asset to GCC’s culinary team. 

Christopher Gentile, assistant professor and program coordinator for the Culinary Arts Program, noted that in the short time Stewart has worked as an employee at GCC, he has become an integral part of the program.  

“Being a recent graduate of the Food Service Management Associate degree and Culinary Arts certificate programs, he is able to provide the students with a true ‘been there’ experience approach to assisting them as needed.  We look forward to Will’s continued development both academically and professionally as he progresses here at the College,” Gentile said.