Soules admitted that there were challenges, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial plan was to open the institute last fall, but the ongoing health crisis prevented that from happening.
Despite those hurdles, Soules revealed that the project came $100,000 under budget.
For Soules, the facility is a place for students and young entrepreneurs to find their spirit and an “escape for choice and freedom and expression through one’s chosen craft.”
“The culinary institute is a house, a home, a hope, an opportunity,” he said. “A living, breathing destination for education, life skills for today, the future and beyond.”
Through the institute, Cayuga Community College will offer an associate of applied science degree in culinary arts. Durant said the program has received at least 30 applications for the fall semester. Some of the students who will participate in the program attended Wednesday’s ceremony.
Two top state officials were also in attendance: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who chairs the state’s regional economic development councils, and State University of New York Chancellor Dr. Jim Malatras.
Hochul visited in 2019 when Auburn finalized its list of 13 projects that will be supported by the $10 million state grant. She expressed her love for the city and mentioned that when she visits other parts of the state, even New York City, she highlights Auburn and its progress.