Culinary Students Get a Chance to Cook Again After Teacher Leaves
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Upon entering the classroom on February 15, there was a liveliness that wasn’t there before in the 4B culinary class. The students were animated again, talking and interacting with one another while cooking food, which was a rare sight this school year. A man in a tall white hat complete with a white chef’s jacket stands out in the center of a crowd of students.
Students were engaged as they gathered around Michael Levins, a special guest chef from HCC, while he mixed flour, eggs, and water together, rolled it into a ball, flattened it and guided it through the pasta maker. The final product was delicate homemade pasta.
The students had their sleeves rolled up, their blue or white aprons on, dusted with flour as they broke off into different groups to make their own pasta. A chorus of different voices joined together as students talked, joked and had fun cooking again.
Ms. Bullock, the Career Readiness and Development team leader, arranged for Levins to guide the class and give students a lesson to teach them vital cooking skills. This was the first time that students have cooked since they made homemade dips a few weeks ago.
The food and nutrition class hasn’t always been as animated as it was on February 15. Most of this school year, the students have been sitting with headphones in, staring at textbooks because their original teacher has been on sick leave and their long-term substitute doesn’t have the credentials to instruct a cooking lab.
This was a class that many students enrolled in because they assumed they would get to cook and eat everyday, but several students were disappointed with the lack of cooking that they’ve been doing. Students like Omni Laurence and Erin Murphy both envisioned the class being much more interactive than it has been this year.
“We’ve been doing worksheets and bookwork for over a month with the exception of one class when we made dips,” said Murphy. “This is not what I thought this class was going to be like.”
“I love cooking. I wanted to learn cool recipes, but we haven’t been cooking, and we weren’t even allowed to use the knives,” said Laurence.
Ms. Bullock realized that it was unfair to the students because could not cook as often as they expected to by circumstances they couldn’t control. She has been working to set up instructional lessons by different teachers so the students can cook more.
“I’m trying to be creative and find ways to expose them to cooking techniques and equipment, as well as new flavors and foods,” said Bullock. She did so by inviting the HCC cooking teacher to do a demo.
Senior Kimberly Rieder, who has taken the class before, took it again because she loves food and the friends that she made in the class. Though the students have been disappointed by not cooking as much, the students haven’t lost their spirit and are still enjoying the class.
“Today [February 15] has been pretty fun because we’ve been able to cook and be interactive,” said Rieder, “but it’s always fun because we still enjoy each other’s company,” she said.
Ms. Bullock hopes to do more lessons like this with guest teachers throughout the rest of the school year to get the students back on track.