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6/22/19 CTEC produces junior chefs

Imparting pasta knowledge

Asian ginger sesame roasted vegetable pasta with chicken and a vegetable spring roll, prepared by students under the guidance of Tiffanie King, ABSS Culinary Arts Instructor at the ABSS Career and Technical Education Center.

Robert Thomason / Times-News

Asian ginger sesame roasted vegetable pasta with chicken and a vegetable spring roll, prepared by students under the guidance of Tiffanie King, ABSS Culinary Arts Instructor at the ABSS Career and Technical Education Center.

CTEC produces junior chefs
By Jessica Williams, The Times-News 6/22/19     
Reprinted with permission.  

Following directions before cooking are McKay Flemming, Bayleigh Morrison and Madison Ballard.  

Following directions before cooking are McKay Flemming, Bayleigh Morrison and Madison Ballard.

 

Cooking can cause chaos, especially when it involves 25 teenagers.

On Wednesday, June 19, the Alamance-Burlington Career and Technical Education Center hosted the first of two Junior Chef Cooking Classes for rising sixth- through 12thgraders. On the menu: Asian ginger sesame roasted vegetable pasta, spring rolls and cannolis.

“It’s really great to give kids the opportunity to experience food from all over the world,” Culinary Arts Instructor Tiffanie King said.

The classes are free thanks to a partnership among CTEC, Be Healthy Now Alamance and Cone Health, which offers the funding in return for a suitable kitchen and King’s expertise.

As students worked through each recipe, she rotated from team to team to provide instruction on chopping vegetables, rolling spring rolls, mixing pasta, and even washing and drying dishes.

“We don’t want to do everything for them,” King said. “We want them to cut the vegetables. We want them to be knowledgeable about the ingredients they’re using.”

King has been cooking since she was a teenager learning the basics in a Graham McDonald’s kitchen. She worked in the food industry for more than 20 years, and earned her master’s degree in Education and Career and Technical Education to teach students life skills through cooking.

“Food is one of the tools we use in our programs, but we’re really teaching kids the soft skills and how to work together,” she said. “Some of these kids have never met each other until today, so it’s preparing them for the real world if they’re on jobs or even in a camp like this, you have to learn how to work together with people from different backgrounds.”

As the students sat down to eat, King took a break to ladle Mexican horchata into small plastic cups. The sweet, creamy drink tastes like the milk left in the bowl after eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and one of the parents joked it would be great with a little bit of rum.

They enjoy the classes as much as their kids do.

“Some parents want us to do this every night,” King said. “If we could expand it so there are more days and offer it multiple times throughout the year, that’s what we’re working on.”

But it takes a lot of sweat, and money. In other parts of the state, junior cooking classes can cost as much as $400 a week. Thanks to the generosity of Cone Health and Be Healthy Now Alamance, these students get to experience something they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

“It just makes you feel so proud because they don’t have to pay anything and that’s why I started teaching, to give kids the opportunity to do what they would never be able to do,” King said. “Can you imagine paying for four kids to go to a camp that costs $400 or $500? And so, we’re so blessed to have this partnership.”

She’s also fortunate to have CTEC Principal Darrell Thomas in her corner.

“I couldn’t ask for a better principal because he says ‘Yes’ where a lot of principals would say, ‘No, who are they? Why are they coming in the building? You don’t need to be here,’” King said. “He lets us use this building after hours to help the community, and if we didn’t have that support from him and our CTE department, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”

Students slice and chop fresh vegetables under the guidance of ABSS Culinary Arts Instructor Tiffanie King.

Students slice and chop fresh vegetables under the guidance of ABSS Culinary Arts Instructor Tiffanie King.