Culinary Instructor Meckes Receives Hamburg Campus ‘Golden Apple’ Award

Randolph Academy has named Christopher Meckes as the Hamburg campus recipient of its 2023 “Golden Apple” Award. The honor recognizes an individual’s outstanding professional contribution and achievement and is given annually to a staff member at each campus. (Randolph’s winner will be announced at next month’s board of education meeting.) The award was presented to him by Superintendent Danielle Cook.

Mr. Meckes joined Randolph Academy in 2019 as its culinary careers teacher. He has spent his whole career in food service and hospitality, beginning at age 15 as a butcher. He holds an associate’s degree in Applied Science Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Denver and has cooked in various restaurants in Colorado, Alaska and Western New York, including 10 years as sous chef and banquet chef for the Country Club of Buffalo.

When he joined Randolph Academy, Meckes obtained his transitional certificate, required to crossover from industry to teaching. He has since obtained his professional teaching certificate as well.

“Mr. Meckes always goes above and beyond in planning events that build our school community,” said Superintendent Danielle Cook, Ph.D. “He engages students in learning through various activities throughout the kitchen. His ideas and implementation of food truck events are always forward-thinking and aim to present our school and students in a positive and productive light.”

There was no better example of this than the event he coordinated last fall to show support and empathy for the east side Buffalo community impacted by the racist attack of May 14, 2022.

“Mr. Meckes had students use their culinary skills to give back to a community shattered by violence,” Dr. Cook explained. “He led them in providing free meals to area residents from the parking lot of the Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Ave., where the attack occurred, lifting the spirits of the community while teaching students what it means to show compassion.”

Meckes is admired throughout the campus, as evidenced by his receiving the campus’ Peer Recognition Award earlier in the ceremony. He is also well-known for his support of the campus’ younger staff. He takes many under his wing and teaches them not only the nuances of the school and district – but the kitchen as well.

“I’ve seen him teach staff members how to cook a variety of quick, inexpensive meals,” Dr. Cook added. “When you’re young and starting out your career, money-saving tips like this go a long way, and our employees really appreciate his time and generosity. He is a gift to Randolph Academy.”

A Derby, N.Y., native, Meckes now resides in North Collins with his wife and six children.