Kitchen Experience Adds To Classroom Learning

As celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse would say as he adds that finishing touch to his cooking, “BAM!” A group of Davies High School students recently learned how to add their own finishing touches to a meal they created to be enjoyed by others.

two male students prep food at a kitchen counterEight sophmore to senior students from the Davies High School Family and Consumer Science (FACS) Restaurant Skills class were invited to create and serve a meal to the Fargo School Board members on November 26 prior to their evening school board meeting.

The students were selected for participation by instructor Lana Duffey Feeley based upon their previous Restaurant Skills classroom experiences and involvement in additional FACS classes. Student participants were Logan Ellingson, McKenzie Haverkamp, Bobby Hegseth, NaNa Khadi, Jesse Pahl, Jami Peterson, Michael Schmidt, and Cody Stroh.

teacher instructs two male students on food prep at kitchen counterDuffey Feeley shared that the students were invited to cook for the School Board to showcase the Life Skills aspect of the District’s Strategic Plan. “FACS classes are heavily focused on life skills. With a hands-on approach to our curriculum we want students to leave our classrooms with not only knowledge, but also the ability to apply that knowledge both now and into their futures.”

Girl stirs cooking pot on large stoveThe students were responsible for all aspects of the meal: recipe selection, planning, food prep, actual cooking and baking, plating and serving the meal, and clean up. Earlier in the fall, they had even harvested and canned both the tomatoes and the zucchini from the school’s garden, which were ingredients used to create the evening’s Italian inspired meal.

Final meal preparations and cooking occurred at the Fargo Public School (FPS) District’s central kitchen, where a majority of the FPS Nutrition Services meals are created prior to daily distribution to school buildings. While there, the students were also able to work with Deb Laber, director of FPS Nutrition Services, and District Cooks Alma Werth and Connie Erickson. The location gave the Restaurant Skills students an opportunity to cook on a much larger scale and in a commercial setting, adding another layer to their classroom cooking experiences.

three students plate up food to be servedOn the menu for the evening: Toscana Soup with Fresh Kale, Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Italiano, Marinara Pasta, Garlic Bread Slices, and Glazed Zucchini Cookies. “The students did an excellent job. The food was delicious. It was a great demonstration of how our students are applying what they are learning in their Restaurant Skills class,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Schatz about the meal.

Their instructor thought the student chefs did an excellent job as well. Duffey Feeley said, “I think the students learned not only how to work in a new environment, but also about the social aspect of a job or career. With not knowing exactly what to expect, they were truly able to take the skills they had learned and apply them to a new setting with new people. I am so proud of their efforts!” BAM!

group of students and instructors