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Chef Povinelli Deserves Being Named a Teacher Who Rocks

Matthew Pfouts

RHS Culinary Arts Teacher Thomas “Chef” Povinelli was recently named a Teacher Who Rocks for “making an important contribution to society,” according to local radio station and sponsor WDHA 105.5, and he deserves it.

“I am honored and surprised to win this award, and I would like to thank my colleagues for nominating me,” Povinelli said, in a nod to some of his many supporters.

Although Povinelli started his work as a corporate chef, throughout his culinary journey he decided more children should learn how to cook, which led him to teaching at RHS. Many of his current students agreed that he deserved to be named a Teacher Who Rocks because of his amazing ability to connect with students as a teacher.

“I love being in his classroom because it’s a fun environment, and he interacts with students in a fun manner,” said sophomore Bodhi Kolankowski, a Culinary Arts I student.

Chef keeps his culinary skills as sharp as his chef’s knife to enhance the experience his students get in the classroom.

Senior Tommy Martin, a student in Culinary Arts II, agreed. “He shows how us to make many different dishes and how to utilize ingredients to better the flavor of the food,” Martin said. “He’s a good person and is a friend to most of his students.”

Povinelli said that, while he teaches hoping his students will become future chefs, his classes are important for students who are considering all professions. To this end, he added that he emphasizes the importance of cooking and making sure students leave his classroom knowing something new about cooking every day.

“I do what I do, so even if you don’t seek a job in this business, you can cook and take care of yourself,” he said.

Povinelli began his culinary journey in the corporate arena, working as a chef for Kraft Foods and Mondelez for six years before he began teaching at RHS. While at Kraft, he managed a large staff, which taught him how to navigate student classes of any size.

In addition to teaching classes at RHS, Povinelli also works as a chef at Vegas NJ, a local banquet hall. There, he keeps his culinary skills as sharp as his chef’s knife to enhance the experience his students get in the classroom. Povinelli also teaches students outside of Randolph and formerly taught at Piscataway Vo-Tech.

Randolph students said they look forward to his classes and enhancing their culinary skills, be it cutting vegetables or cooking soup.”The broccoli cheddar soup we made in his class was memorable to me because it showed the importance of small-dicing vegetables,” Martin said.

Whether or not they planned to become chefs, students agreed that Chef Povinelli is always eager to teach them new techniques that will enhance their culinary prowess, whether they be cooking at home or in a professional-grade kitchen.

About the Contributor
Rishi Chilakapati, Staff Reporter
Rishi is a sophomore enrolled in Journalism I who is in his first year as a staff reporter for Rampage. Rishi can be found participating in the high school's investment and cooking clubs throughout the year. Outside of school, Rishi enjoys cooking and reading, as well as creating and editing videos for his friends. He also likes spending time with his family and especially his dog, Clove. 
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