By Marion Delostrinos
As a visitor walks into the class, they would be immediately drawn to the fragrant smells of the newly made crepes. On the tables, there are about three or four crepes from each group, as members took turns washing their pans and dishes. A crepe is a thin and flat pancake. The crepes themselves are small, but flavorful, with a generous amount of chocolate hazelnut spread and cut-up strawberries.
The Cooking Fundamentals class, as a whole, is important for learning life skills.
“Cooking sounded interesting and a thing I could do outside of school, and it could be applied to daily life,” Rainier sophomore Audriey Alpuerto said.
In an email, Cooking Fundamentals teacher Sarah Pereyra stated that she wants her students to be comfortable with using kitchen appliances in a cooking environment.
“My goals for this class are to hopefully have everyone feel safe in a kitchen environment (using knives, hot plates, frying in oil etc) and also for students to learn how to cook food for themselves but also others that hopefully is healthy,” Ms. Pereyra stated.
In Round 1 of cooking, they focused on kitchen safety and knife skills. The final project was to create a chicken stir-fry, which allowed them to practice knife skills as they prepared their dishes.
Mastering the flavor profiles in other countries’ and cultures’ foods was the focus of Round 2. In their presentation, students were able to cook any two dishes desired, comparing their histories and use of flavors.
In Round 3, students cooked brunch and learned about plating and setting their food.
Students were responsible for keeping track of who will come to the brunch, food allergies, and budget when planning. Students were able to invite other teachers and students as the guests to try their creations.
Communication is an important skill to know in this class and in regular life in general.
“Communication skills are super important in a kitchen but also in life, so we are definitely working on that in this class, working with people you might not necessarily like (groups are constantly changing in this class and people don’t always want to sit where they are), how to cook a meal that is healthy but also tastes good,” stated Ms. Pereyra.
Groups in this course consist of five members, where each have a specific job. In each group there is a head chef, sous chef, line cook, time keeper and materials gatherer.
Everyone in the group cooks, but their roles help other people to stay on track. They help each other stay on-task and work together.
Of all of the projects, Ms. Pereyra enjoys the third round the most because it allows the students to creatively express themselves through their dishes.
“It really gives them the freedom to choose what they want to make, how they want to create it and have it shown for the people that are coming to brunch,” she stated.
Ms. Pereyra originally applied to Summit Public Schools to be a College Readiness teacher and ended up as the Cooking Fundamentals teacher because of her passion towards making food.
“I went in for an interview to teach College Readiness and Ms.Witte and I talked about making quesadillas and food and the farm I worked on for the entire time,” Ms Pereyra stated. “She thought it might be a good fit for me to teach cooking!”
Ms. Pereyra enjoys teaching this class because she gets to share what she loves to do with others.
She hopes for students to know “how to be able to cook, but teach others to cook safely,” Ms. Pereyra stated, adding, “Everyone eats so everyone should know how to cook. It’s an important life skill that everyone should have but unfortunately don’t get sometimes.”
Rainier sophomore William Amper said, “I chose this class because I never used to cook, and after a round or two I started cooking by myself at home and I got good at it.” This goes to show that anyone taking this course can use the skills from this class in their daily life.
I love how how this explained that students should be able to learn how to cook food for themselves as well as for others that hopefully uses healthy ingredients.