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Hospitality students bake, roast, and learn all about preparing an unforgettable holiday meal

Students in the Hospitality classes prepared a full Thanksgiving dinner and lots of pumpkin pies for sale this holiday season. Photo contributed

Hospitality students bake, roast, and learn all about preparing an unforgettable holiday meal.Hospitality is a well loved career pathway in which students learn culinary skills from basic to advanced. The classes at Atascadero High prepare students for jobs in the hospitality industry, like restaurant work, as well as customer service of all kinds. Teacher Ms. Little hopes for students to “gain basic techniques and ready them for a career in the hospitality industry”.

Recently the Hospitality program held a fundraiser selling pumpkin pies to teachers. They plan to sell cinnamon rolls in the future to both students and adults. On even days, Ms. Little's Hospitality II and Baking and Pastry students run the Hilltop Cafe. They prepare coffee and baked goods for sale to teachers. Right now they have specials of the week. In previous weeks they have created blueberry scones, and have used ingredients like basil grown in the greenhouses by the Sustainable Agriculture classes for their creations.

Hospitality II students work-based learning in a busy food service setting gets students ready to enter food service and preparation careers. Ms. Little said the hospitality classes are “coming up with more ideas” as they gain knowledge and skills. When asked if she had any funny stories from the school kitchen, she replied “Somebody once caught a potholder on fire, and then dropped it on the ground and stood around it and just watched it burn without taking precautions to put it out.” She had to stomp out the fire and to show them what to do in case it ever happened again.

Another time, when a student was asked to put the contents of the bowl into a pan, the student put the entire bowl in as well. Lastly she says she's had a student wait for the stove top to “heat up” meaning they were trying to heat up fire, which is pretty hilarious.

When students were asked about their experiences in the culinary classes, Paige Stith said that it was funny how some of her peers were afraid of the oven, and when making one of her favorite things, crepes, she recalls how it crumpled up and she tried to flip her second one. “It went on the floor; it was sad.”

When asked about their goals for taking the class, students expressed varied answers. Adury Frertas said she hoped to “expand on my kitchen knowledge.” Lacy Short and Stith both agreed that they wanted skills that they could rely on for when they were older and that they loved making muffins and Snickerdoodles. Short said her most challenging recipe that she has made was sunnyside up eggs. Students are looking forward to the upcoming second semester where they can learn more culinary skills and try more challenging recipes.

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