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Moody feeds culinary-arts students' passion for the kitchen

Posted at 6:04 PM, Aug 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 05:38:01-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Moody High School, biscuits are coming fresh out of the oven, as well as pastries and chicken pot pie.

But this isn’t the cafeteria -- it's the culinary arts program at Moody High School.

“They have to make the cookies,” said Moody H.S. Culinary Instructor Donna Jones. “They have to cook the steak, they have to fabricate, or cut up, the chicken."

The culinary arts program is a four-year program that lets them graduate high school with college credits, and students can earn their food-manager certificate.

The class starts with the basics – measurements and knife skills – and students are expected to be able to develop a recipe by their senior year.

"The most thing that's caught my eye is how to butcher the meats and everything,” said senior Austin Martinez. “Learning different steps to make the process of cooking way easier."

In addition to technique, they also learn skills such as cost control and time management, which will help Martinez, who said he eventually wants to get a business degree and open a restaurant after college.

He said culinary arts class also has made him look at going out to eat differently.

"If you go to a restaurant, you start noticing little minor details, like if they're starting to slip up," he said.

And it's not like cooking at home, or in your grandma's kitchen. "We have a full-on commercial kitchen here with all of the appliances and they learn how to use it," Jones said. The students also have to follow health department protocols.

Jones said the students are graded heavily on cooking, teamwork, and job skills, but they also take written tests. The students also participate in local, regional, and state-level competitions. All in order to give them a leg up if or when they want to work in a professional kitchen.

"I would like to own a little cafe,” said student Amarissa Ramirez. “Be like, small, nice." One of the program’s students recently was accepted into a Top-10 culinary program.

"We have a student now who was a senior, who was not in the academy but did take the program and is now accepted into The (Auguste) Escoffier (School of Culinary Arts), because last year she found out she has a passion and she wants to run her own bakery and own her own bakery," Jones said.

And when they're not opening up their own restaurants, maybe these young chefs could help struggling eateries.

"We all know right now that we are looking for restaurant workers, and when you do that and you already have someone coming in looking for a job who has their food-protection manager certification, it makes a huge difference,” Jones said. “I hope that the restaurants out there will take note of that."