Culinary Updates: Showcase and Pyromaniacs?!

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Andrea Benito Chino

Have you ever been in the east wing and then you’re suddenly hit with a whiff of whatever it is culinary is cooking/baking that week? Chances are you have definitely experienced this before and every single time, you’re just left wishing you could taste whatever it is they’re making. You really should have taken culinary when you had the chance, huh. Speaking of which, what HAS culinary been up to? We know they make food, but is that really all they do? The short answer is yes, but with being in culinary, comes a lot of new experiences and opportunities. Since I am in fact taking culinary this year, I am pretty well qualified to report on this matter, so, here are some of those instances from the year so far. 

 

Most recently, a handful of culinary students were chosen to help with the showcase night that was held on Thursday, November 19th. From 4:00-8:00pm, students rushed around the culinary classroom as they prepared food that would be served later that night. Culinary 1 students focused on BLT bites, tomato soup with flatbread, and biscuits with honey butter, while the culinary 2 students added the final touches and plated their brownies, peanut butter blossoms, chocolate chip, pecan lace, oatmeal, and sugar cookies. I was able to interview some of the students who helped serve that night, so here’s what they had to say about the event:

  • What was your favorite part about the event?

Culinary 2 – Savanna Conwell: “My favorite part of the event was baking. I love baking and it was so fun to be able to cook with friends I don’t usually get to cook with. I also loved getting to serve everyone. It’s always a highlight to be able to show off your creations and see people smile.”

Culinary 1 – Laela Collins: “My favorite part was making a full course meal instead of just one thing like we normally do.”

Culinary 1 – Lauren Howard: “I really enjoyed the environment, the people I was with, and the conversations I had with everyone else as well.” 

Culinary 2 – Francis Pactol: “I loved when everyone came up to us and were talking about the food and our program. They seemed thoroughly impressed that we had made all of it. I also heard that the dance performance was good, but I didn’t get to see it, sadly.”

  • Would you like to volunteer to work at another event like this one? What would you like to see or make food-wise?

Culinary 2 – Francis Pactol: “I would love to do another event like that. It was so much fun. I think next time we should definitely do something like mini tarts or some sort of interactive decorating. It might not be possible because of Covid, but it would be fun.”

Culinary 1 – Laela Collins: “Yeah, I’d definitely like to do another event sometime. It was very fun and I don’t have any specific foods in mind.”

Culinary 1 – Lauren Howard: “I would, but hopefully(the preparation time) would be a little shorter next time, so I don’t have to stand for 5 hours. I don’t have anything specific I would want to make, so whatever chef asks for.”

Culinary 2 – Savanna Conwell: “I would love to do another event like the showcase. As I mentioned before it’s so fun to be able to see people smile especially when they are smiling because of something you created. At the next event I would love to be able to make some more deserts. I think making churros or donuts might be a fun addition along with the other essentials.”

 

After hearing all of their wonderful responses, I decided that I wanted some input from Chef Mahlstedt as well, so here are his responses(I paraphrased, so more or less what he said). : 

  • What was your favorite part about the showcase?
  • My favorite part about the showcase was seeing students have their first opportunities at experiencing something similar to a real catering event where they had deadlines and had to serve their food as well.

 

As you can see from my point of view and those of others, the whole night was a huge success with everyone loving what we had made, and many coming back for seconds, and some even thirds.  If you missed out on this event and are balling your eyes out every single night because you really can’t believe that you missed it, don’t worry, there will be more coming up soon! More specifically, Chef Mahlstedt let us know that next semester, there will be a sort of restaurant-like, sit-down dinner fundraiser where culinary students will be able to help out both by cooking and serving the food that they’ll be making that night! The whole fundraiser is still in-progress of being organized, but it’s sounding like a very exciting opportunity both for culinary students looking to gain experience cooking in a more “professional” kitchen setting(well, as professional as it gets in a high school kitchen), and for those who will actually get to eat the food! Make sure to keep an eye out for more updates to come! 

 

Furthermore, as an added bonus and just because I was curious, I also decided to ask Chef Mahldtedt a question that may or may not create rivalries between the periods. I’m talking friends betraying each other, family members stabbing each other in the back, and alliances being torn apart. If you haven’t been paying attention to anything else, this is where you want to start. Feel free to bully him as needed. 🙂

  • On a scale of 1-10, 1 being none at all and 10 being extremely probable, how likely are each of your periods to burn the kitchen down?
  • 1st period: 3*
  • 4th period: 4
  • 5th period: 9 (i-)
  • 6th period: 7
  • 7th period: 6

* Just a little side note, a pan ALMOST caught on fire in my period AFTER I interviewed him, and he told me to bump our rating way down, but since I’m period 1, and I’m just the tiniest bit biased, I’m going to leave it as is. Sorry not sorry. :)))

 

Anyway, that is all for this issue’s culinary updates! I know that after reading this, you’re PROBABLY going to want more, so I’ll continue to write these updates as the year goes on. Below, I’ll include some of the photos from the showcase taken by our very own Chef Mahlstedt and some of the food we have made so far. I hope you all have an amazing winter break and remember, NEVER pour cold water into hot oil, it WILL catch on fire. Good luck!