For students interested in learning to cook, a newly renovated food lab will be in the works next year.
The current foods lab will be completely renovated in time for the Spring 2018 semester. The main focus of the plans will be to provide a more industry-conforming environment with professional-grade equipment.
The current foods lab has four home-style kitchens, and the new lab will include 5 kitchens, featuring stainless steel, commercial kitchens similar to those used in the food industry. Each of the new labs will also be equipped with monitors for the students to learn more easily through live stream videos. They will also include cameras to make class demonstrations visible on the monitors all around the room.
As part of the renovation, one of the kitchen stations will be specifically designed to make class activities more accessible for students in wheelchairs or with other disabilities.
Foods teacher Jill Sizemore believes this will be a great addition to the program.
“One of the kitchens will be ADA compliant with lower countertops and space underneath the appliances for someone for a wheelchair to roll up to it,” Sizemore said. “That will be one of the very best things we’re going to get.”
For the fall semester, the CTE department will continue to offer Foods 1, even though the lab will still be in construction. In the spring, a new “Pro-Start” class will be introduced which is connected to the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Sizemore said that this class will give students who wish to attend a culinary school and work in the foods industry in the future a more fast-paced, in-depth experience to match the expectations of the workforce.
She added that taking the new “Pro-Start” classes will largely benefit students wanting to continue a career in the foods industry in the future.
“Say a student wanted to pursue a career in culinary arts. If they started in Pro-Start in high school, then they would be able to take these classes, almost like taking AP classes that give you college credit. These classes would give you credit towards your culinary program at any culinary school,” Sizemore said.
CTE Coordinator Tanya Tommey says she is excited for a new foods lab as it will give them more experience for careers in the future.
“I’m excited about a new lab. I think we’re preparing students for careers in the 21st Century. And I think it will give them real hands on experience so that when they go into the workforce that they will be better prepared from using the newer, up to date industry standard equipment,” Tommey said.