On Thursday, December 11th, the Burlington Community Kitchen Academy graduated 10 students from the 13 week culinary training program. Brian Roper, District Executive Chef at Sodexo gave the keynote speech. Brent Farrell delivered the graduating student speech. And Chef Instructor James Consentino also spoke.

Here we’ve include a transcript of the speeches:

Brian Roper, District Executive Chef, Sodexo

Thank you for that kind introduction and thank you for inviting me to speak today. I’m very pleased to be here to join you in celebrating this wonderful occasion.

First of all, congratulations to all of you. You should be very, very proud of yourselves for accomplishing this goal. Well done. I know you must all be excited to get your hands on your diplomas and run out into the world. But as cartoonist Garry Trudeau said, “Graduation speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.”

That’s where I come in as the keynote speaker. I’ll try not to sedate you too badly.

To the families of those graduating and earning certifications, congratulations to you and you should know that your support through this process made an enormous impact. I’m sure you’re very proud of your graduates as they close this portion of their lives and prepare for their next steps into a new career.

Graduation is one of those steps in life that defines a coming of age – the ending of one era of life, as a student or the one being shown the ropes, and moving on to a new stage in which you are a leader, a do-er and an achiever in the wider world. I’m sure many of you have firm plans and have a good idea of what’s coming next, some of you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do next, a dream and a lot of hope to get you there, and some of you are just amazed that you got to this graduation point at all! Well the coming times will be exciting, they will be trying, but they will be all dependent on you and your determination and positive attitude.


It’s been 20 years since I graduated from culinary school and things have changed just a bit since then.

I had big plans for myself. I was a graduate of the Connecticut Culinary Institute, and I was going to  be single for life, never have kids,  travel the world to gain more knowledge of different cuisines, I was going to become a celebrity chef