Y’all bready for this?: an insight into the culinary classes at HHS


Kenzie Henegar

Culinary class students work on assignments in their HHS culinary class.

     Mixing bowls on the counter, spoons with batter on napkins, the smell of cookie dough baking in the oven. This is the scene of a typical Highlands High School culinary class. 

     According to Family and Consumer Science (FACS) Teacher Marlee Barton, taking this class can lead to many new opportunities in career paths. 

     ”Kids are learning new skills that they can take with them for the rest of their life. Even some kids are going to take this to the career level, culinary school, or even if they want to be a chef.”

     While students in the Foods and Nutrition course learn how to create food for themselves, Culinary One and Two is more industry-based learning. To have the opportunity to cook, culinary students must pass the ServSafe exam. This exam opens up the opportunity for students to become a manager at any food industry job they apply for. 

     Junior Jayden McGhee had this to say about the exam.

     “The exam goes over the front of house and back of house procedures in a restaurant. If you pass, you get a certification that can help you get better jobs in the food industry.” 

     Throughout the year students get to experience many different activities involving culinary arts. Towards the beginning of the year, students get to create cookie kits for the teachers. The teachers at HHS choose how many cookies they want, and what kind of icing and decorations they want in the kit. Students in Culinary One and Two created these kits over the last two weeks in the first quarter. Boxes are decorated, while the teachers order kits, which are then delivered to classrooms. 

     Before Christmas break, students in Foods and Nutrition participate in Cupcake Wars. Each group comes up with a theme for their cupcakes and then makes a stage out of pizza boxes and crafting materials. Teachers then come in and vote on the best cupcakes. This experience teaches students about how important presentation is and also how to work together and communicate. 

    Previous winners were 2021 graduates Megan Studer, Katie Johnson, and Sophomore Kenzie Henegar. 

    Students that want to pursue the Culinary career path need to go through a five-year process. First, they will need to take FACS Essentials in eighth grade or freshman year. The next step is to take Foods and Nutrition, along with Culinary One sophomore or junior year. They can then move on to Culinary Two during their junior or senior year. Lastly, there is a co-op program that you can take in Culinary Two where students go out and get a job in the food industry for a class period. This process looks extremely good when you are applying for culinary school or regular college in general. 

     COVID-19 affected many students, as they had to learn in a non-traditional environment, which can be very challenging for some students. 

     According to Barton, not being able to teach face-to-face with students for a few months, due to COVID-19, was hard on the students and the teachers.

     “There are a lot more things we can do this year versus what we couldn’t do last year. During NTI the students had to cook at home, so now the students have a lot more help with being inside the classroom this year.”