Students in Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program are taught the culinary and life skills needed to pursue a career in the food industry. Unfortunately, due to the extensive culinary skills that need to be mastered during the 16-week program, baking and pastry lessons can be few and far between. These are advanced skills that require precision and repetition to excel.
This winter Second Harvest added an elective to the Culinary Training Program for students to participate in baking and pastry lessons. By providing new and different experiences, Second Harvest hopes students will have an advantage as they begin their career search.
“There is nothing like experiencing a student’s ‘a-ha’ moment,” explained Chef Terah Barrios. “Whether it is learning the mysteries behind a beautifully plated dessert or a simple loaf of bread, these lessons are all about expanding our students’ knowledge base.”
Once a week during January, students opted to stay after the regular school day to learn from Chef Terah. After earning a degree in Baking and Pastry from Valencia College, Terah worked in a local French bakery in Windermere. She gladly shared her hands-on expertise with students as they learned the precision and chemistry required for successful baking.
The curriculum also explored healthy alternatives for baking ingredients, such as replacing flour with soy. Lessons began with cookies students took on more challenging assignments in subsequent weeks. Their final exam was to bake a buttercream wedding cake.
Culinary student Zacharian Williams recognizes how important it is to learn how to bake, “It’s something you just need to know. If you want to be a chef, it is important to know how to bake.”
For some of the students though, this is more than just opening doors for jobs. Culinary student Marie Homlet, wanted to learn how to bake so that she can hand-bake her son a cake for his birthday because she has never been able to buy or make one for him before.
Leslie Kell added that these baking lessons mean much more than a job opportunity. It gives her a chance to try new things in a supportive environment. “I just love to cook. It started when I was younger and used to cook with my grandma,” explained Leslie.
To learn more about the Culinary Training Program visit www.feedhopenow.org/culinarytraining.