Pin It

NECI News 

Side Dishes: How much smaller?

It’s been no secret that the New England Culinary Institute has been suffering from financial difficulties. Ever since the school’s Church Street eatery, NECI Commons, closed in 2005, foodies and chefs have been expressing concerns about its finances in hushed tones. Over the last few months, staffing cuts and lower-than-expected enrollment figures have generated rumors.

Now the school is planning a drastic change, pending final approval from its board. Last Wednesday, students and faculty learned that NECI intends to close its Essex Junction campus, consisting of administrative offices and dorms located on Franklin Street near Five Corners, and consolidate operations in Montpelier.

The move, which will affect about 100 students currently located in Essex Junction, will be a money saver. It should also allow NECI to expand its offerings with more online study and courses on agriculture and food writing, according to an April 25 article in the Times-Argus.

How will NECI’s downsizing affect The Essex, formerly known as The Inn at Essex? Calls to NECI VP Richard Flies were not returned by press time. But The Essex General Manager Jim Glanville admits that “a lot of misconception exists” about what constitutes NECI’s “campus.” “There’s a misunderstanding that NECI is pulling out of The Essex,” he explains.

According to Glanville, the exact opposite is true: “This is an expansion of our current relationship,” he maintains. “It will include being the preferred [NECI] internship site, the home of alumni events and graduation.” Most importantly, he adds, The Essex will continue to host NECI’s “recreational cooking classes” for the public.

And, because The Essex will now be staffed by “job-ready” NECI interns rather than students, Glanville expects to see a bit of improvement in the food and service. “There were students involved in the back of the house that made it challenging sometimes for quality,” he says.

As for the resort’s restaurants, Glanville attests that The Tavern will stay the same, but changes are likely at Butler’s. “It’s really become a special-occasion restaurant locally, and we want to make it more accessible,” he says. “We’ve got some really neat ideas that will come out in the next three to six months, in keeping with our local, organic, sustainable mission.”

His overall assessment: “We’re looking forward to improving upon things, if you can improve upon what was already a great partnership.”

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Suzanne Podhaizer

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

foodie poll

How do you feel about eating GMO foods?

  • I don't understand what the fuss is about. I eat them and I'm fine.
  • As long as they're FDA-approved, I don't mind consuming them.
  • GMOs are in most staple foods, so I'm resigned to eating them.
  • I wish they were labeled so I could make informed choices about when to eat them.
  • I'm concerned about potential long-term health effects of consuming GMOs, which haven't yet been studied.

View Results

Latest in Food News

Recent Comments

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2016 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So Champlain St Ste 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation