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Former Curly's chef to lead Savor at NFCI

Chef Shea Zappia has taken the reins at Savor, the fine-dining restaurant at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.

Jan. 5 was Zappia’s first day at Savor, 28 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls. He’s tweaking the current menu, and planning a spring menu overhaul, he said.

A former executive chef and partner at Curly’s in Lackawanna, Zappia worked his way up to his kitchen leadership role after starting his career with two years of culinary classes at Erie Community College.

[Read Galarneau's review of Curly's from June 2014]

His new job won’t include formal classroom duties, but includes teaching the culinary students for whom Savor is an extension of the classroom, said Zappia. “It’s about giving them experience working in a real restaurant, under a real chef, in real-world conditions,” he said. “I think you have to be half chef, half teacher, and give them experiences that help them grow.”

Mark Mistriner, NFCI’s academic chair, said Zappia was chosen as a solid professional who could convey what he knows to students. “I’ve always been impressed by his work ethic, professionalism, and knowledge of ingredients and how they work together,” Mistriner said. “Savor is a real restaurant, but it’s also a living lab for our culinary students.”

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