Culinary Programs Mentor Future Chefs

Skills Range From Home Cooking To Culinary Careers


Brooke Parker

Culinary students work Dec. 10.

     While culinary careers have long been appealing to students, they may not know about the variety of programs offered to them. From Foods 1 and International Foods to ProStart competition culinary teams, there is something for students at all levels. 

     Intro-level courses are for all students, allowing them to learn more about food and cooking in general. Students interested in pursuing culinary arts as a career have on-campus and off-campus options as well as the ability to compete on a culinary team.

     “ProStart just made it where I can learn the skills to further advance my knowledge in cooking,” senior Janessa Duce said.

     In advanced programs, students have the opportunity to learn culinary skills to cook at home for their families or go into a culinary profession.

     “ProStart 1 and 2 are more career-specific,” foods teacher Rachel Mitchell said. “Anyone can enroll in them, but I recommend that more for students who are invested in our industry.” 

     When enrolled in ProStart, there are some advantages for those pursuing a culinary career. For example, there are two kitchens students can access.

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     “The benefit is that we have two kitchens, a residential-style kitchen, and a commercial kitchen,” Mitchell said. “Especially students that are wanting to go into the industry, they are introduced to the commercial equipment.”

     In the advanced classes, students learn in a hands-on environment, and they compete in multiple competitions.

     “We have a strong program,” Mitchell said. “We have a big program. We compete in multiple competitions. We have good relationships with local restaurants and a few chefs that come in and help mentor us.”

     Juniors and seniors also have the opportunity to register at the Northland Career Center and enroll in the culinary program. They offer two-hour classes that prepare students for catering skills, but there are some prerequisites.

     “Juniors would need to get a shadow date scheduled through their counseling office so that they can come and shadow the program,” NCC chef Brandi Moritz said. “They’ll spend a class period in our program to see what a day looks like at NCC.”

     Since students spend a lot of their time at NCC, there are some benefits, Moritz said. For starters, they get experience working with high-quality equipment while earning high school credits.

     “One of the nice things about our program is because you are at our school so much if you do the full two-year program, we embed an English and a math credit into our programs,” Moritz said.

     Students interested in the culinary arts can learn basic skills, advanced skills, use restaurant-quality equipment as well as earn high school credits. And some say the best part is taste testing.