These first few weeks of school, students in ‘Introduction to Culinary and Hospitality’ have been studying safety, sanitation, sales and preservation. This course is the continuation of the Culinary Pathway at White River Valley that begins with ‘Nutrition and Wellness’ and ends with students taking the PrePAC exam to earn industry recognized pre-professional certification. The capstone course begins with students reviewing basic safety and sanitation procedures and examining further the specific requirements for selling food. Students considered the five risk factors identified by the CDC and considered procedures that would prevent contamination from occurring in the school kitchen. They described the purpose of the HACCP, symptoms of food borne illness and conditions to control microorganisms.
All of this leads to studying the principles of preserving food. Students learn about microorganisms and enzymes and their effects on food. Then study the process for freezing, jelly making and canning. Hands-on cooking labs include freezing corn, preparing jam, jelly and marmalade and canning salsa. All the while studying the procedures, conditions and equipment needed to prepare a safe and quality product. Many of these products students got to take home and enjoy while some will be used in the classroom kitchens in future cooking labs.
Finally, the class started the discussion of how to sell a product. Each student completed questions to identify customers, customer needs, sales approaches and more to get them in the mind-frame for selling. The class decided to stick with the apple butter that was sold last year by the ‘Introduction to Culinary and Hospitality’ students. We then figured product cost, set a price, practiced our sales strategies and got the order form.
Students went on to sell over 70 jars of apple butter. In class, students pared, chopped, simmered and puréed over 50 pounds of local apples. The apple butter was then cooked in a crock pot with sugar and cinnamon for four hours. After school, students from the class volunteered their time to come in to fill and process jars.
It was a great success and so much fun. I am happy to be able to pass on knowledge of safety, sanitation and sales and the joy of preserving to WRV students.
Betsy Misner has been the Family and Consumer Science, formerly Home Economics, teacher at White River Valley for over a decade. Her motivation is helping students to strive for strong, happy, healthy families and providing career pathways. Check out more of what is happening in the classroom by following her on Twitter: WRVFACS@BetsyMisner