FHSD and Sodexo Introduce Food for Thought Academy

Posted on 12/04/2019
Food for Thought Academy instructors


High school students in FHSD recently cooked up some tasty meals during the inaugural Food for Thought Academy. The after school program, sponsored by FHSD, District food service provider Sodexo, and FHN teacher Becky Just, offers advanced culinary education taught by local professional chefs.

The classes are held each month at FHN and are open to all high school students in the District. Class size is limited to 10-15 students. The program will have an emphasis on the FACS culinary curriculum, advancing what’s taught in the classroom and preparing students for a career in the culinary industry.

Chef Carl McConnell works with FHC studentChef Carl McConnell, the owner/executive chef at Stone Soup Cottage and a class instructor, shared how he hopes to provide students with real-world experience through the program. “I want to show them what it’s really like to be in a professional kitchen and to work with restaurant professionals,” said McConnell. “Whether or not they are going to pursue a culinary career, I think we can certainly give them a good idea of what that is going to be like.”

Along with McConnell, the Food for Thought Academy instructors include the executive chef for Mercy Hospitals, Gerard C. Campione, the owner of Upshot Coffee, Conor VanBuskirk, and Sodexo District Chef, Karin Mann. The chefs will teach students lessons on plate presentation, preparation skills, and more. “We want to make sure students understand that when they send something out to customers, it’s more than just the taste,” shared VanBuskirk.

Along with cooking lessons, the program will also include field trips to Stone Soup Cottage and supplier facilities. Students will be able to add to their portfolios with each dish they create during class, which will help them in future career endeavors. The finished products can be used to design buffets, plated presentations, hors d’oeuvres, or a four-course dinner.

FHU senior Zachary Gonzalez-Rubio hopes to use the program as an opportunity to improve his skills in the kitchen. “I want to feel my growth, so by the last class I can make something that impresses the chefs.”

The next Food for Thought Academy class will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Interested students can contact their high school culinary/FACS teacher for more information.

Chef Gerard C. Campione works with FHU students     Students present their finished dish

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