The New Ventures Culinary Arts Program, sponsored in part by the Kozy Shack Puddin’ Kids 1st Vincent Gruppuso Foundation, continues to thrive since the launch of the program earlier this year.
Currently, students are partaking in a variety of thematic educational courses and experiential hands-on learning, hosted at the South Finn Grill.
Just this week, students in the program competed in a taco competition, crafting restaurant quality tacos utilizing the skills they have learned from both experience and their coursework. In describing the competitive experience student Leeah Clark describes, “The competition for the taco cook off went good for my team. The role that I had was cooking the dough for the shell and rolling it out and making sure they were the same size and not to stretch out. My team worked together because in each station there were two people so everyone helped each other out so it wasn’t like everyone was just shoved a job and left with no help.”
Students have additionally learned the characteristics and skills unique to the professions of food critics as well. When asked to professionally critique a students work, students Anthony Cascio and Ryan Cook had this to say about the cooking process, and end result:
The process: “During the process of cooking, he could have done better at being neat, but he did know everything he was doing. He was able to move at a quick pace, knowing the next step he had to do. His knife skills were great, he cooked everything very well. The burger was a challenge, but he managed to do a good job with it. For the presentation, it was very neat, though he had many different items he managed to keep it clean and I liked it.” – Anthony Cascio
The food: “Daniel’s burger has jalapenos, sweet peppers, bacon, beef, lettuce but it didn’t taste spicy to me. The reason I think it didn’t taste spicy was because of the lettuce but it also tasted sweet because of the peppers.” -Ryan Cook
New Ventures students are thriving, learning, and having fun as culinary students.
Teacher Amelia DePompo works with the students daily, and is watching their passion and learning grow to be cultivated within their practice. She says,“The students in the culinary program have truly begun to shine! These young chefs are able to identify flavors and textures though dishes of their own creation. Their passion for food is exemplified through use of descriptive language applied to their English Language Arts assignments. There is a special environment of respect and appreciation being created in the kitchen at the South Fin Grill.”
The unique design of the program provides invaluable opportunities to both the students and staff at New Ventures. Assistant Principal Ryan Melis is extremely grateful for the program and it’s impact on students. “This is a hands-on, real-world job training course where our students take part in working in a fast-paced industry that they enjoy,” he says, adding, “The students value learning about culinary arts in the classroom, and look forward to working in their culinary internship on Fridays.”