Food for Thought
Villa Angela-St. Joseph's culinary arts program isn't the same old home economics class.
The cooking starts out simple: s'mores, soups, cakes. But once Villa Angela-St. Joseph students learn their way around the kitchen, and prove they won't burn down the school, the budding culinarians move well beyond blend, bake and boil. The Viking Chefs two-year certification program lets teens take turns experimenting and managing their foods class. The students design menus and oversee six kitchens for five days of creating dishes from around the world and testing peers' efforts. "Cooking is a really good thing to learn how to do because it helps you your whole life, and it's a way to express yourself," says Grace Rodgers, a senior in the program. Students also see demonstrations by Cleveland chefs, take part in a Iron Chef-type competition, and prepare meals for school events and community organizations such as Hospice of the Western Reserve. This year, the program gets stirred up a bit more with Pro-Start, during which instructor Scott Giddings teaches students not just about food, but also food preparation, customer relations and cost. "It's a great exposure for students to the hospitality industry," he says.