In the Brookfield Schools Cherry Hill Campus Culinary Arts Program, we strive to give students as many opportunities as possible for future life experiences including job options, life skills, post-secondary education opportunities and chances to foster their own creativity. The students work tirelessly throughout the school year learning how to safely handle food and chemicals in the kitchen, proper knife skills, operating and maintaining commercial grade kitchen equipment, various cooking methods and techniques, and countless other skills and tools that are associated with the food and restaurant industries.
Our program begins each school year with a week-long training on “all things safe.” From there, we work on various projects that include culinary basics such as soups, stocks, mother sauces, heat transfer methods and more. Next, we focus on catering projects for school-day events and evening events that teach students meal planning, food preparation, food costs and inventory management. Our students cook and organize food for Back-to-School Night, prepare beautiful pink cupcakes on “Pink Day” to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness and several other school events such as these. As the school year progresses, our youngsters are responsible for catering major events such as our Thanksgiving Feast, Annual Holiday Bake Sale and our Spring Fling / Arts and Sciences Fair. In addition, selected students with the proper skills are dedicated to preparing meals for staff lunches. These students are in charge of taking food orders, following food-handling procedures, making food-to-order, preparing properly plated presentations and displaying appropriate communication and time-management skills
The first half of the third marking period is spent focusing on various cuisines from around the world. Each week is dedicated to a different area of the world, exploring and practicing various dishes that are native to those areas. We research the foods, herbs and spices that are indigenous to those countries or how they may have been adopted there by trade or accessibility. After this, students learn plate presentations and how to make food look appetizing and appealing.
Finally, students work on projects more independently that spike their interest, cultivate their creativity, or may teach new techniques they wish to learn. They also complete the school year with a menu project where they create a restaurant, bakery, food truck or other type of dining venue. This project helps display the array of skills they have learned throughout the school year, while also allowing their imagination to take hold. The final week of the school year includes a school-wide BBQ and cook-out where we celebrate the many achievements and successes of the year.
In the Culinary Arts program at Brookfield Schools Cherry Hill Campus, we do everything we can to help our students succeed. From preparing for the workplace with industry standard certifications, to everyday skills they can take with them long after their time here at the Academy, we are dedicated to preparing them for success.