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Broaden your palate: Central High grad shares his love of baking

Triplett Tech graduate Cody Fitchett, of Fort Valley, gives a baking demonstration recently to a group of first-year culinary students at the school. Fitchett received an associate's degree in October from the Culinary School of America in Hyde Park, New York. He plans to return to Hyde Park in January to pursue a bachelor's degree. Rich Cooley/Daily

Triplett Tech graduate Cody Fitchett is sharing his passion for baking tasty treats.

Fitchett, 20, of Fort Valley, is home following his studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he earned an associate’s degree in baking and pastry arts on Oct. 21.

Fitchett, who grew up in the valley, has been helping teach in the culinary program at Central High School and Triplett Tech since graduating from those schools in 2014.

“I just want to teach people why I love it so much,” he said.

He said he it’s been exciting to give back to the schools because “that’s where it all started for me” and he can relate to the students sitting in the same exact seats that he sat in just a few years ago.

Cody Fitchett puts the finishing touches on a chocolate cake with a butter cream frosting during a demonstration at Triplett Tech. Rich Cooley/Daily

He is also going to be teaching specialty baking classes at Nibblins in Winchester, and is spending his time working with the baking staff at Woodstock Café & Shoppes. He noted that since working there his French macarons have sold out.

He said he has always loved baking and grew up in a large family that encouraged him to follow his dreams. He said during family get-togethers, about 100 people would gather, and that required a lot of food to be made, which he happily helped make happen for his “huge Southern family.”

His first food memory, he said, was baking donuts with his grandma on a Saturday morning. From then, he would take on a different food project every weekend to broaden his skills and try something different.

He said one of his favorite things to bake are wedding cakes. He loves making jaw-dropping cakes with intricate designs. Recently at Triplett Tech, he showed students how to bake and decorate a cake.

While attending Triplett Tech as a student, he said he decided that baking was what he wanted to do with his life. Chef Paje Cross set the path for him to follow his dreams and get into a top-notch culinary school, he added.

Fitchett decided upon the Culinary Institute of America after taking a trip to see the campus and he said he fell in love with the school and the wide array of programming it offered.

“It’s the Harvard of all culinary schools,” he said. “If I wanted to be the best I had to go to the best.”

He added that the school is also only a short drive to New York City, “one of the largest food cities in the world.”

But his journey to becoming a baker is not over yet.

He will head back to school for his bachelor’s degree in business management in January and expect to receive that degree in May 2018.

But before he graduates, in January 2018 he will be heading to Italy for a semester of learning under top-Italian cuisine chefs.

He said he will be staying in a castle with others attending the studying abroad program in Italy.

“I’ve never been outside the United States,” he said, adding that he is excited about studying authentic Italian cooking from actual Italian chefs. As part of his senior thesis, he will also be working at a local bakery or restaurant in Italy and writing about what he learns from the experience.

He said to prepare for the trip, he will be taking an Italian language course when he goes back to school this January.

When he is done with his schooling, he plans to move to New York City for a few years to learn from the best of the best. He said he wants to move around every few years to learn from someone new and get his hands dirty in various forms of baking from around the world.

“It’s very daunting,” he said. “I just want to learn as much as I can about my craft.”

He added that he thanks God for all of his success and his future plans.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com