Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
The students in Robin Smith's Culinary Arts Class at Madison County High School (MCHS) may or may not decide to go on to a career in the restaurant industry, but for those who do decide to venture in that direction, they will have a good foundation. Smith makes a point to help her students with basics of cooking and following a recipe to more complicated tasks, such as fruit carving. Students in the class are on varying skill and experience levels, yet Smith manages to juggle time to give instruction to all the students. That instruction can vary from working on a basic white sauce to carving birds out of an apple.
The students also have the opportunity to obtain Serv-Safe certification. All restaurants are required to have on staff at least one Serv-Safe certified employee. One student in the class, Cheyenne Sanders said she had been offered a management job with a Dunkin' Donuts because of her Serv-Safe certification. Sanders has also been accepted to the prestigious Johnson and Wales Culinary School, in Miami.
However, not all the students in the Culinary Arts class are planning to work as a chef. Some are simply interested in learning how to cook. Jonathon Alexander said he was drawn to the class because he often helps his mother cook. “I often help my mom cook in the kitchen, so I thought this might help me to be a better cook when I help her. Besides, I'm going to be on my own one day, and I'll need to know how to cook,” said Alexander. Arturo Andablo said he was planning to go into nursing, but thought some background in food and nutrition could help with a health-care career.
The work these students perform in the kitchen often gets put to use when the students prepare luncheons and meals for faculty and even for some special school functions. Recently, these students prepared the food for the District School-related Personnel of the Year luncheon. Smith says her eventual goal is to be able to prepare a full meal for the faculty or an event on a monthly basis.
No matter what their chosen profession may be, the students in the Culinary Arts Class at MCHS are getting a “real world” education that could pay life-long benefits at least three times a day; at breakfast, lunch and dinner.