While most students’ classes across Science Hill’s campus are winding down, the culinary arts program is in the midst of one of their busiest times. Six students recently received their ServSafe Food Manager Certification, and the group has eight catering events before the end of the month, including one the afternoon of graduation.
The ServSafe Food Manager Certification is the National Restaurant Association industry standard and does not need to be renewed for five years. Science Hill Culinary Arts teacher Sasha Johnson said that she was proud of the group for earning this certification.
“This certification prepares the students to be able to manage staff and make sure that their staff provides safe and sanitary food to the public, and understand the liabilities that they have. It’s not just a food handler certification; it’s the food manager,” Johnson said.
Science Hill senior Hallie Mishak said she was pleased when she heard she passed the 90-question test, which required a 75 percent grade to earn the certification.
“It’s a hard exam,” Mishak said through a smile, “but I thought it was really important, especially with the whole pandemic. It shows that we used our time wisely and we have something besides our Science Hill diploma after we graduate.”
Science Hill junior Jacob Wines has dreams of becoming an art teacher, but he earned his ServSafe certification because he felt it can help him gain employment in the foodservice industry until he goes to college. Wines joined the program after he had an urge to learn cooking.
“At first, I just wanted to learn how to cook other things besides peanut butter and jelly,” Wines said. “I’ve learned how to bake cookies, to make a bechamel sauce and I’ve learned a lot of the other basics of cooking and plating.”
Mishak said that her time in the program has been enjoyable, and it is one of the classes she will fondly recall from her time at Science Hill.
“It’s more than just cooking,” said Mishak who noted she learned knife skills and proper food storage techniques. “Mrs. Johnson is great and she really makes the kitchen a fun place to be and learn.”
There are three levels of culinary arts available to students at Science Hill. Upon completion of Culinary Arts I at Science Hill, proficient students will have knowledge in the components of commercial kitchen safety and sanitation, history of the foodservice industry, careers, nutrition, recipe basics, proper kitchen tools and equipment, and kitchen staples.
After completing Culinary Arts II, proficient students will have an understating of commercial kitchen safety and sanitation, menu planning, food presentation, purchasing and inventory, preparation skills, cooking principles, and food preparation. Pro Start Certification available to those who qualify. Culinary Arts III is an advanced course intended to further equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue a variety of careers in the culinary field.
Last school year, freshmen were able to join the culinary arts program during their first year on campus. Johnson said that having freshmen in the program will be beneficial to both them and the community. Students will be able to gain a better understanding of the foodservice industry. She hopes that will bolster their skills and confidence in the food industry and make them better employees.
“If we can get them prior to going into the foodservice industry, then they will have the skills to be ready,” Johnson said. “They will already know work ethic, show up to work appropriately, dress appropriately, how to act and how to be professional with a passion for the work they are doing.”
For more information about Science Hill’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) offerings, click here.