Reality TV or Culinary Arts Final?
The SHS Culinary Arts Program
It was a banner year for the Class of 2018 Culinary Arts students. They were the vanguard in a new butchering program, extended catering and take-out services and even created ice sculptures at events around the city. The food service industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, employing 25% of all Americans. Somerville High School offers a cutting-edge Culinary Arts program as part of the Career and Technical Education Department. Staff members Chef Jeff Stuart and Melissa Nova-Rosario teach students a range of classical and modern culinary skills, theories of food preparation and critical safety techniques, in order to prepare for careers in a professional kitchen, management, baking or pastry shops, and catering. The Culinary Arts program runs a dining room, The Culinary Arts Bistro, with dine-in and take-out service during the academic school year, which is open to the public. Students develop the menu, prepare the food, serve food, and manage the front-end of the restaurant. Don’t miss the opportunity to stop by for an inexpensive and delicious meal when the Dining opens again for service in the fall!
A Hands-On Cooking Practical Exam
For Seniors, work in the culinary arts program culminates in a final Hands-on Cooking Practical. The Practical sounds more like the start of a reality television show than a high school exam. Students walk into the Practical knowing they have one hour to produce a protein, starch, vegetable and sauce using a ‘Mystery Food Basket.’ Instructors Chef Stuart and Ms. Nova-Rosario look for professional-quality plates that display beautiful presentation, seasoning, temperature, texture, creativity and great taste. During the cooking process, instructors also expect meticulous food safety practices. The surprise ingredient this year was Strawberry Licorice, which all students were asked to incorporate into their meals.
Ms. Nova-Rosario describes the class of 2018 Culinary Arts Seniors as “an amazing group of kids, which you can see from their food.” Check out the Senior Hands-on Practical meals below to whet your appetite.
Check out their Dishes!
Tyler added his own twist with a potato and jalapeno hash with a strawberry and licorice compote.
Hugo used a strawberry licorice glaze on carrots and made an herbed cream reduction pan sauce for his chicken. Hugo received Best Presentation from the teachers.
Luis received Most Creative for an Asian-influenced potato side with coriander and ginger sitting on a bed of sautéed lettuce.
Kasey managed to make a delicious homemade pasta during her one-hour.
Guerline innovated a vegetable compote with a licorice syrup.
Bryan included lemon as a main flavor element and roasted his ingredients.
Allison pan sautéed her meal and used the licorice for a compote.
Carla topped her chicken with a pan sauce.
Leslie grilled a vegetable side and used a pan reduction sauce for the chicken.
Jeffry’s dish was Latin-influenced, mixing cold and warm foods with a cold potato salad and a pan reduction sauce on his chicken.
Karen took it in a different direction, creating an escabeche.
R. Ronen, Communications Specialist