The Coltivare Culinary Center is the hub for all of the hospitality programs that are offered by Tompkins Cortland Community College. The bar, restaurant and event space are staffed by paid professionals, however our students gain real world experience by having classes that requires them to work in every position in the restaurant and event space to offer them an advantage upon graduation. We have students that grow our food, prepare our food, and serve our food. If you are a supporter of local food systems and higher education, then you’ve come to the right place! We look forward to seeing you soon!
Director of Operations
Assistant Professor & Chair Culinary Arts
As Chair of the Culinary Arts program at TC3, I work to support students on their path to becoming professionals in the industry. I take very seriously the responsibility of giving students the right building blocks they will need to be successful. Culinary arts is not just a career; it is a language, a science, an art, and comes with social responsibility to our community and food system. I joined the Coltivare team after moving to Ithaca with my spouse and daughter. Previous to that I owned and operated a farm-to-table catering company in Gainesville, Florida, and worked as an executive chef in a handful of restaurants geared towards sustainability and local sourcing. My training at the New England Culinary Institute gave me the needed tools to navigate the food world. I have a passion for local food stems that stems from my studies in plant and soil sciences at the University of Vermont and the University of Florida. When I learned about Coltivare and the Farm to Bistro program at TC3, I instantly knew I wanted to be involved. One of my signature professional opportunities as a chef was being at the forefront of a regional farm-to-table movement in central Florida and making a meaningful contribution.
Chair of Hotel & Restaurant Management, Chair of Business Administration and International Business
Sue Stafford is the farmer’s daughter of the Coltivare team. Sue learned how to appreciate great food and hospitality through her years alongside her mother, who introduced her to her love for cooking, entertaining, and traveling. A graduate of Niagara University’s Hospitality Program, Sue has an extensive history working in the industry, from hotel and catering operations, to organizational consulting, and inspection of luxury independent hotels for Conde’ Nast Johansen’s. For the past 19 years, Sue has enjoyed working in education, teaching and then leading the hospitality programming at Tompkins Cortland CC, and attending Elmira College for a Master’s in Adult Education. She has served on Tompkins County Tourism Board and is active with the College’s Global Initiatives Committee, and is the college Study Abroad Faculty Liaison. She has travelled numerous times to Italy with students for short term study abroad Culture and Cuisine coursework via our university partner in Tuscany . She has been part of Coltivare since it was just an idea!