Culinary Arts & Opportunity Garden
Written by Karen Kohler, Culinary Arts Teacher
The Culinary Arts Program
The Culinary program is in its third year at Donald E. Woods Opportunity Center (Don Woods). Our students are taught the basics of Safety and Sanitation, Knife Skills, Basis Kitchen Utensils, Nutrition, Food Service Operations, Careers and Employment Opportunities, and the History of Food Service. There is always lots of activity as we are learning, whether it is hands on in the kitchen or research based on the computers. They are learning about other cultures, customs and tastes. Students are learning about farm to table, too, by planting a garden and actually using the produce to make their dish of the week.
The Culinary Classroom is especially an exciting place to be on cooking days; the students enjoy chopping, dicing, stir frying, and steaming. The students are so proud of themselves when they are cooking. They love to share about what they have created! The hardest part of the Culinary Classroom is during the change of class when all the non-culinary students want to come in and see if they can get a taste!
The Opportunity Garden
The Don Woods “Opportunity Garden” is a great example of learning about farm to table for our Culinary Arts students. The Home Depot of Lake Wales generously donated the vegetable and herb plants for the fall/winter garden. We have been growing: cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, Tuscan kale, broccoli, and four varieties of tomatoes (cherry, grape, heirloom and beefsteak), and four varieties of peppers (jalapeno, banana, red and green bell peppers), plus the herbs of: basil, cilantro, oregano, and rosemary. The students are responsible for planting and maintaining the garden.
Just recently we are beginning to see the rewards of their hard work, by actually cooking with the herbs and vegetables that they have seen grown from small plants. They have enjoyed making Pica De Gallo with the cilantro, and Chicken Vegetable Stir Fry with the fresh broccoli and peppers. Next week’s menu will include Southern style collards/mustard greens and Tuscan Kale soup!
We are proud to be a part of the Bok Tower/UFIFA School Garden partnership which will take place on Saturday February 27th 2016, in which we will acquire plants for this upcoming Spring Planting.
Thank you to The Home Depot of Lake Wales; Bok Tower and the University Of Florida Institute Of Food and Agricultural Sciences School Garden Program; and our local fruit and vegetable stand for your kind and generous contributions.