Published: Granite Bay Gazette Vol. 19, Issue 3. Friday, March 13, 2014.
Reason for publication: During my freshman year, I took a beginning culinary class through GBHS’ culinary program. It was one of the best classes I ever took throughout high school, and I was extremely frustrated when I discovered they were canceling the program. I decided to write an opinion piece about the effects of the cancellation.
Granite Bay High School – a school well-financed enough to fund fantastic academic programs, a great staff and an IB science classes with as few as six kids – can evidently not afford a culinary program.
The culinary program at GBHS still existed when I entered high school and, as a freshman, beginning culinary was my very first high school class. That class turned out to be one of my very favorites and gave me skills and recipes I still use and friends I still have today.
At the time, the eight kitchens in the room were fully functioning with sinks, stoves, various cooking utensils and two refrigerators for the room. The room also had eight Cuisinart mixers – mixers that are prominent in the culinary world and approximately $300-$400 each.
With such state-of-the-art equipment and perfectly workable kitchen fixtures, it was hard for me to accept the vague excuse that the reason for the discontinuation of the program was simply because of the
lack of a replacement teacher. Although this is an adequate short-term problem, the permanent discontinuation of a popular GBHS program doesn’t make sense – and whatever the real explanation is, it definitely was not conveyed to the student population.
As someone who is passionate about both cooking and baking, and who thoroughly enjoyed the culinary program, culinary class was incredibly important for me to learn and grow as a chef. From a broader viewpoint, as many of my peers, including myself, will soon be enrolled at various colleges, culinary also taught vital information for everyday life – especially necessary for living away from home.
In college it won’t be necessary to know the difference between eggs whites whipped to a soft peak versus a stiff peak, but learning how to boil pasta, cook an egg or prevent food-related illnesses might be. Starting college only knowing how to make a bowl of cereal will prove frustrating. A single culinary elective could provide the difference between eating cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner and being able to cook for yourself and teach others.
But unfortunately, I will not be able to take the Advanced Culinary class I planned to take before I graduate, nor will any other students who attend GBHS. Now, students who haven’t taken a culinary class – the majority of the student body – have lost the opportunity to learn any of the provided skills and potentially be at a greater risk for foodborne illnesses.
What other class provided at GBHS teaches the maximum time for foods containing ingredients liable to spoiling to be left in room temperatures? Or about how to thoroughly cook foods with eggs to prevent salmonella? Or how about preventing food poisoning by knowing which foods need proper refrigeration? Not any class we have currently available.
Because GBHS lacks any course catered towards a student wanting to pursue a career in the food industry, it seems as if the school almost discourages such career paths. Currently, the school has three business classes, but apparently is not able to provide even a single culinary arts class.
For a student such as myself who is debating between a career path in the food industry or a career provided in a typical academic college, a culinary program available in high school can strongly influence the decision. It can also be a vital source for those students who have not yet uncovered their culinary passion.
It seems highly unlikely the culinary program will make a reappearance before I graduate, but I deeply feel it is of the highest importance that future students learn how to cook for themselves and lookout for their own well-being.
And I’m also fairly certain the world would be a happier place if everyone knew how to make their own homemade cookies.