Students taking part in culinary classes at Fredericton High School's Future Chefs Cafe had the chance to share their talent for fine cuisine when they prepared and served a delicious Christmas feast
for district staff after school on Dec. 6. Festive treats, fancy horderves, and tasty appetizers were all part of the menu which the students made from scratch for their guests.
"The students learn food needs to be visual as much as it needs to be edible, that functions are about creating atmosphere, and the devil is in the details," said teacher Amy Wood. "What I love, and I feel the students love, is the ability to be creative. There are really no limits when it
comes to creativity in the kitchen. Often school work is structured, so it is nice that students are allowed to step outside the box and fuel their creative juices."
Wood said the beauty of kitchen work is it teaches students life skills as well as team work, organization, consistency, time management, and interacting with adults, such as when serving the dishes they prepared.
There are three culinary classes at FHS with 60 students enrolled and 20 at a time working in the Future Chefs Cafe. Plans are the cafe will be in full operation by late February once all students are comfortable in the kitchen and safety trained.
For now, they have been preparing take home meals including soups, salads, shepherds pie, lasagna, fresh biscuits and bread rolls. Desserts are also prepared as part of the cooking experience.
Coffee is brewed and served to staff, so there's almost always a fresh pot on for teachers, Wood said. Some food items are sold to staff with funds raised going toward buying groceries to make more dishes or meals in the Future Chefs Cafe.
"It is part of the curriculum to understand food cost, so often we discuss together what they feel would be a good price for an item and look at what the ingredients are, but also consider what the client will pay and the size of the item being sold," Wood added.
The students take a recipe and begin cooking, checking with Wood to see if they are on task for the right results in terms of flavour and the visual aspect.
"We stress the importance of being organized before they start and that they have an apron, hair net or hat and wash their hands. This is part of the food sanitation process that we follow.
"They also go about and check the temperatures of all the fridges, do dishes and laundry and clean as I cannot stand a messy kitchen!"
Wood said when the cooking is finished and the work is done, she looks at the teaching opportunity as "40-40-40.....will they remember it in 40 hours time, 40 days time or 40 years time." She aims for the 40 years.
"We have mistakes, but those are learning moments. We also have a lot of success. The students rose to the task (of cooking for district staff) in such a fantastic manner.
I could not be prouder of them and all they have achieved."
Shown in the photos below are (1) Students Chris Zhang and Rebecca Cotton serving their food with district staff Carol Clark-Caterini on the right; (2) Wayne Annis, Director of Schools for the Fredericton Education Centre, congratulates students
Rebecca Cotton, Sam Tingley, teacher Amy Wood, and students Julia Hudson, Chris Zhang and Isaiah Bryden for their great work in the kitchen, with district staff Claire Allen (far right). Absent are Ethan Stairs and Jacob Kranat.
(3) Future Chef Cafe students Emma Langille and Grace Nevers.