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MCCC Culinary Student Michael Rabenowitz
Splits His Talents Between Two Princeton Restaurants

4/22/13


West Windsor, N.J. -- Culinary Arts student Michael Rabenowitz completes his A.A.S. degree from Mercer County Community College this semester.  But that has not delayed his determined pursuit of career opportunities in the culinary field.

Rabenowitz has two full-time jobs and a schedule that requires energy, ability – and a passion for food. His typical day starts at 7:30 a.m. at Agricola, a new restaurant on Witherspoon Street in Princeton (the site of the former Lahieres), where he does prep work until early afternoon.  He then heads a few blocks over to Palmer Square, where he is a line cook at the Nassau Inn until approximately 10 p.m.

Rabenowitz says his work is rewarding and never dull. “The most challenging part is multi-tasking and time management in the kitchen.”

He believes the restaurant industry is a good choice for him.  “My dad was a chef.  I love the field, particularly the fast pace of the work.  Seeing someone enjoying my creations is special.”

Graduating culinary student Michael Rabenowitz, left, with MCCC instructor Chef Bill Beyer, who has taught many of Rabenowitz’s classes, including American Regional Cuisine, Menu Planning, Breakfast Foods, and Advanced Culinary.

 

According to Rabenowitz, the Culinary Arts program at Mercer provided a solid foundation.  He says that now he is working in the field, his education is continuing. “I am acquiring new skills.  I hope to one day open my own restaurant.”

Rabenowitz’s job at Agricola, under Head Chef Josh Thomsen, came about following Thomsen’s visit to the Culinary Center in the fall when he demonstrated the preparation of a gourmet meal featuring “farm to table” ingredients.

“Chef Thomsen is a great mentor and I do my best to learn as much as I can from him,” Rabenowitz said, noting that he is cooking with locally grown, freshly harvested ingredients that come from Great Road Farm, which is owned by the restaurant.

Early spring crops have already begun to arrive.  Rabenowitz reports that 20 pounds of ramps came in this week.  “Ramps are like a small leek.  We are pickling them,” he said.  “It’s the first time I have heard of them.  I am growing every day.”

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