Our Culinary Arts Faculty oversee students in our full service restaurant, providing a realistic training which prepares students to plan, supervise and work in food and beverage service operations and other hospitality facilities. The students learn a variety of management functions while working in the kitchen and dining room.
Chef Benjamin Pike
Chef Benjamin Pike
413-863-9456, ext. 182 email@example.com
After graduating from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT with an Associate’s of Occupational Studies in culinary arts in 1996, Chef Benjamin Pike traveled and worked as a chef for a number of years.
He served as chef at numerous upscale eateries, including the Lawnmeer Inn in Boothbay, Maine; Loons On A Limb in Boca Grande, FL; Cipriani's Restaurant in Steamboat Springs, CO; and L’Essentiel Restaurant in Chambery, France.
After settling back in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, Chef Pike earned his teaching certificate at Fitchburg State University. In 1999, he started directing the kitchen at The Apprentice Restaurant at the Franklin County Technical School.
He runs a classic kitchen brigade, teaching his students a method of organizing a restaurant kitchen where each worker has a specific duty at a designated area. Under his direction, students produce a varied menu for the public several days per week.
Chef Pike enjoys creating a hands-on classroom setting that immerses students in real kitchen situations. Outside of teaching, he enjoys hunting, fishing, snowboarding, gardening and camping with his wife Linda, and family dog, Sunny Pike.
Growing up in Angleton, TX, Christa Snyder learned to cook and bake at the hands of a very patient mother who always let her daughter follow her around the kitchen. Additionally, Christa's paternal grandmother had a slew of cake decorating tools with which she dreamed of making beautiful cookies and cakes.
Within a few years of graduating from the University of Texas at Austin (1995) with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology she moved to Western Massachusetts, and got started in food service by opening the Longhorn Flauta Factory, a Tex-Mex take-out restaurant in downtown Greenfield.
Christa then worked as a baker and kitchen manager at McCusker's Market in Shelburne Falls before opening the 2nd Street Baking Co. in Turners Falls with a business partner in 2007. Her first connection with the Franklin County Technical School involved hiring FCTS student interns and graduates at the 2nd Street Bakery.
After leaving 2nd Street, Christa found herself pulled back into pastry arts, baking for The People's Pint in Greenfield and ultimately Chandler's Restaurant in South Deerfield. Looking for a way to use her passion for baking in a more meaningful way, a relative suggested teaching. "I couldn't get the thought of teaching out of my head after that," she reflects.
The stars aligned when the baking instructor position at FCTS opened in 2017 right on the heels of the unfortunate closure of Chandler's. Christa has been with the FCTS Culinary Arts Program ever since. She is inspired by the FCTS mission to prepare students for success through technical and academic education, and is excited to share her passion with the next generation of culinary enthusiasts.
She received her Massachusetts vocational teaching license and a Vocational Technical Masters Degree (M.Ed.) from Westfield State University in Westfield, MA in December 2020.
Instructor - Hospitality and Dining Room Services
413-863-9456, ext. 182 firstname.lastname@example.org
Born and raised in a small town outside of New York City, Maura O’Connor learned the fast-paced delicatessen business at a young age. In fact, that’s where her love of the food industry originated, and ultimately gave her direction to go to culinary school.
After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in food service management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, Maura returned home to work as a manager in corporate food services in Manhattan and Connecticut. She then had the opportunity to work in healthcare as a food service manager where she gained experience catering for fundraising events. Maura states, “I managed all the banquets, it was a great learning experience.”
After a few years, she returned to corporate food service management at several Compass Group locations. Then, prior to moving to Western MA, as store manager for Starbucks, she developed a true passion for teaching. Maura said, “Starbucks has one of the most advanced training programs for their employees, and that became the most important aspect of my management position.”
Her work at Liberty Mutual Insurance as a customer service specialist also pushed her toward pursuing a teaching career.
Maura has taught with the Collaborative of Educational Services, and has been on the vocational faculty at the Franklin County Technical School since 2019 .
She runs the hospitality and dining room services aspects of the Culinary Arts Program, and has been a licensed vocational teacher in Massachusetts since 2016. Maura recently earned her Master's Degree in Vocational Education.
It is the policy of the Franklin County Technical School not to discriminate on the basis of homeless status, sex, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, transgender, gender identity, creed, color, national origin or disability in its educational programs, activities or employment policies.