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Joan R. Dembinski ’10 Chocolate and Confections Lab

Joan Dembinski '10, standing in the Chocolate and Confections Lab that was named in her honor.

The College has recognized a graduate and generous supporter by naming the Culinary Arts Lab in downtown Schenectady in her honor. The lab, located in the Mill Artisan District, was officially named the Joan R. Dembinski ’10 Chocolate and Confections Lab to recognize Dembinski who graduated with her degree in Culinary Arts and whose generosity has transformed the lives of students through scholarships and enhanced campus initiatives.

Students in the Culinary Arts program and Culinary Arts – Baking concentration first began taking courses in the 2,936-square-foot lab, located on the ground floor of 10 Mill Lane, during the Fall 2021 semester. They learn how to make high-quality “bean to bar” chocolate and create delicious chocolate bars and desserts. Making chocolate from start to finish, students begin with raw cocoa beans and use specialized equipment including a roaster, winnower, nib grinder, melanger, sifter, and enrobing, tempering, and conching machines.

In addition, students are learning how to make other confections from chocolate and sugar. The skills covered in courses in the Joan R. Dembinski ’10 Chocolate and Confections Lab will prepare students for careers in bakeries as pastry chefs and chocolatiers, as well as other roles in the Culinary and Hospitality fields that require knowledge of chocolate and confections.