Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky and chef and author Jacques P\u00e9pin joined culinary students at Emmett O\u2019Brien Technical High School Dec. 11 to cook more than 90 meals for Spooner House, a Shelton nonprofit that provides emergency shelter, meals, and services to families in the Naugatuck Valley region. \u201cThis is a great opportunity for the young chefs at O\u2019Brien Tech to cook alongside a master chef and support the work that Spooner House is doing for families in Connecticut,\u201d Malloy said. \u201cGiving our students as much real-world experience as we can makes them strong competitors in the job market and bolsters the statewide economy. We are tremendously appreciative of Chef P\u00e9pin\u2019s dedication to our community, and I thank the talented students at Emmett O\u2019Brien Technical High School for all of their work.\u201d Emmett O\u2019Brien Technical High School is one of Connecticut\u2019s 20 technical schools overseen by the newly-established Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) board. As part of the bipartisan education reform bill, and with a $4 million dollar state investment, changes to the technical school system were implemented to ensure programming is better tailored to the needs of employers. Curriculum, developed in conjunction with the Department of Economic and Community Development, Department of Labor and business and industry consortium, offers students with up-to-date workforce training relevant to today\u2019s job market. \u201cToday\u2019s event underscores my long-standing commitment to Connecticut\u2019s Vocational Technical High School System and the way it replenishes our workforce with knowledgeable, experienced students like those who cooked today alongside Gov. Malloy and Chef P\u00e9pin,\u201d said State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge). O\u2019Brien is one of 16 Connecticut technical schools with culinary arts programs that participated this fall in the Department of Agriculture\u2019s Farm-to-Chef Week. Held each year in September, Farm-to-Chef Week celebrates the bounty of Connecticut agriculture at restaurants, cafeterias, and other dining venues with special menus featuring Connecticut Grown farm-fresh ingredients. \u201cThe program at O\u2019Brien is top notch, and I thank Governor Malloy for recognizing our program,\u201d said State Rep. Linda M. Gentile (D-Ansonia, Derby) said. \u201cProviding hands-on opportunities makes learning exciting and the students get to see an expert in their chosen field in action.\u201d Malloy, Reviczky, P\u00e9pin, and O\u2019Brien Tech\u2019s culinary students prepared three separate meals with ingredients from local farms \u2014 meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli; beef burritos with a vegetable medley; and spaghetti and meatballs with roasted butternut squash, salad, whole wheat baguette and apple tart made from P\u00e9pin\u2019s mother\u2019s recipe. \u201cIt is exciting to see these young chefs learning about and working with products from our local farms,\u201d Reviczky said. \u201cThey could find no finer mentor than Chef P\u00e9pin, who has been a frequent customer at Connecticut farmers\u2019 markets and a supporter of the Farm-to-Chef program.\u201d The potatoes are from Gresczyk Farm in New Hartford, broccoli from Baggott Family Farm in East Windsor, butternut squash from Dondero Orchards in South Glastonbury and apples from Rogers Orchards in Southington. The ground beef was raised by Broad Brook Beef in Broad Brook. P\u00e9pin, a Connecticut resident, holds faculty positions in Boston and New York and is an established author. He holds three of the French government\u2019s highest honors. He is a Chevalier de L\u2019Ordre National de la Legion d\u2019 Honneur, Chevalier de L\u2019Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier de L\u2019Ordre du M\u00e9rite Agricole. \u201cEmmett O\u2019Brien continues to provide a quality hands on education and allows their students to give back to the community with their craft,\u201d\u00a0 Ansonia Mayor James Della Volpe said. Spooner House, operated by Area Congregations Together, is a comprehensive emergency shelter and food bank serving more than 6,000 families across the Naugatuck Valley. \u201cWe are grateful to Go. Malloy, Chef P\u00e9pin and the students, faculty and staff at Emmett O\u2019Brien Technical High School for their generous support of Spooner House and those we serve,\u201d said Susan Agamy, executive director of the Spooner House.