Culinary curriculum prepares high schoolers for home, restaurant kitchens

A South Callaway High School student smiles as she decorates cookies Tuesday during the Bulldog Bakeshop class. The 2013-14 school year is the first for the baking class. It’s an addition to the school’s culinary curriculum, which is certified through the National Restaurant Association.

A South Callaway High School student smiles as she decorates cookies Tuesday during the Bulldog Bakeshop class. The 2013-14 school year is the first for the baking class. It’s an addition to the school’s culinary curriculum, which is certified through the National Restaurant Association.

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Brittany Bucholz, South Callaway High School student, uses her finger to wipe pink icing off of a tube Tuesday during the Bulldog Bakeshop class. Bucholz was icing pink heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day orders.

When South Callaway High School student Haley Pate imagines her future restaurant, she says it’s big, five-star and elegant. Nothing’s deep fried.

Her restaurant, which she dreams to be the head chef of, looks like the restaurants she sees on TV.

Her start may just be in a South Callaway High School classroom where she practices cooking and baking as a member of the school’s culinary team. Pate said she doesn’t remember how she heard about the culinary team, but does remember what she thought.

“I thought, ‘Oh, that’s my thing,’” Pate said.

Pate, who said she’s always been in love with food, said her fascination is rooted in shows on the Food Network, watching advanced chefs test their limits in the kitchen.

“I wanted to take (food) to the next level too,” Pate said. “That’s not your ‘down-home cooking’ and I want to make it less ‘down home-y.’”

Angie Kropf, South Callaway Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) teacher, has worked for four years to develop the school’s culinary curriculum to where it is now. Kropf studied for one week at culinary schools for three consecutive summers starting in 2010, and last summer she completed 200 hours of practical culinary experience. She worked at the Walmart Bakery in Columbia.

All of this, she said, led to ProStart certification through the National Restaurant Association. This means that students who complete the ProStart 1 and ProStart 2 classes and pass the ProStart exams will also receive special certification before or at graduation. It also means South Callaway is one of 30 ProStart schools in the state, Kropf said.

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