A 16-strong team of student cooks at the North Nova Education Centre dished out a full course lunch for their loved ones Friday ahead of the Family Day holiday.
Led by teacher Rachael Kinch, the family feast featuring lasagna and cheesecake was a chance for students to show off their cooking skills as part of NNEC’s Career Exploration Program, which includes a culinary arts class.
“It’s important for students to be able to learn real-life skills that they can adapt in any environment and it’s a good idea to work on different time management and life skills,” said Kinch.
Other vital kitchen skills include precision, quality control and an ability to problem-solve.
The new skills are already paying off: student Taylor Richardson wowed his grandmother Debra with his lasagna and stuffed chicken dish, saying that he was “really happy,” with his handiwork.
Indeed, Debra was so impressed that she drove up from her home in the Annapolis Valley to sample her grandson’s creations.
“Now I need to get him down to my place to cook,” said Debra.
All told, Richardson and his fellow students cooked roughly 50 food orders.
Students prepped for their big meal for several days before hosting their families and right up until their loved ones entered the classroom-turned-café for lunch.
The News saw students slicing cheesecake and pouring chocolate source on brownies ready to serve, while others prepped salad and brought condiments out to the dining area.
The 16 students all hail from grades 10-12 who must work together as one big group, allowing leaders from each grade level to shine, according to Kinch.
“The students themselves are doing a fantastic job,” said Kinch.
Students enrolled in NNEC’s Career Exploration Program can choose between food studies, automotive or building modules to receive job skills training.
For those students doing cooking, those aged 16 and over complete four weeks of work experience.
Last year, two culinary students landed jobs through the Serve It Up program, which saw teens working alongside a Red Seal Chef.
While mistakes are inevitable in what can be a high-pressure environment, they too help students to learn and grow as they work towards goals both in the classroom and on the job.
“I have a class full of wonderful students who are always up for any challenge I give them, are enthusiastic about learning new skills and are passionate about cooking,” said Kinch. “As I raise the bar, they continue to work hard and never cease to amaze me.”