Program offers more than good food


Dellanira Alcauter

Junior Hilary Scott prepares shredded chicken for a refreshing salad to be delivered to a paying teacher.

Angel Gonzalez

The classroom is warm, as if it has been bottled up, but once the door opens, the warmth rushes out. Then, entering to hear the clicking of tools and the voices that come from every angle, you notice the people are running around, passing ingredients or dishes. It’s chaos, but amidst the seemingly insane class, you sense the organization. All the pots are neatly hanging and everything is in its place place. Then the smell engulfs you. The deep rustic fragrance of ground beef but the delicate light aroma of thyme, rosemary, and oregano surrounds you and pulls you further in. Then you are greeted by Jim Pettis, the teacher.

Welcome to culinary class.

The class cooks all things from hamburgers and meat loaf to lasagna and ribs. Pettis, a chef before he came to teach, who helps guide the students. But, this program doesn’t just help to guide the students on how to maintain a household. The students learn how to iron, wash the dishes and help the cooking go smoothly.

“First, we want kids that want to be in the program and not just put here because there is no room in other classes,” Pettis said. “If they don’t want to be in here, we send them to the counselor.” The class runs like clockwork after this.

“We learn how to cut things and learn new things every day,” Evelyn Rodriguez, a junior, said. Students in the class must learn the correct way to handle kitchen utensils and are required to take the course seriously, as there are projects in which students must find their own recipes.

“Sometimes we create our own recipes and then present them,” Rodriguez said.It’s our job to find what we have and what we don’t to tell Mr Pettis and he goes and gets the groceries. Pettis says that every student gets a sample of food from the plate and he gives them all a rubric and they grade each other. “They know when they do something right,”  Pettis says, referring to how the students know when their dish is good or bad. If the dish is bad or not as good as it could be Pettis says they try to find where they went wrong and help fix it for next time.

This may seem too structured but students say that it is a fun class and it is intended to be but the students are still using sharp things and safety is always a big concern.

“This class is so much fun,” said Trenton Raney, a junior. He also said that people have to realize that they can’t sit at home without knowing how to cook, and that once this is noticed, joy can come from cooking. “A lot of people don’t want to cook, but when you do you have fun.” he said.

“A lot of people work together making lunches for the teachers,” Raney said. These lunches are really helpful to the teachers who receive them. Ty Pafford, English teacher, has been ordering from culinary for four years now and says he enjoys the variety, the convenience with online ordering and the value. The food is good and for only five dollars is not that bad Pafford said. The money goes directly to the culinary program and to Pettis who uses the money for groceries.