As part of the Independence Local School District’s “Career Immersion Projects” for fourth- graders at Independence Primary School, 14 students worked to create a brunch for 40 guests on December 13.
Amanda Jaronowski, district career development specialist, implemented the immersion program to offer a “deep dive” into a variety of career fields. The most recent offering was in the culinary arts, where “IPS Jr. Chefs” acted as if they were the owners and operators of a catering company.
Students were grouped into teams and worked alongside district food service professionals to plan, prepare and present a brunch in the primary school cafeteria. The immersion started with a basic education on career paths in the culinary arts, experience required and salary expectations. From there, fourth graders learned basic safety practices in both a commercial and home kitchen including knife skills, food storage and ServSafe, which is a certification exam required in the food service industry.
In the process, the junior chefs planned a menu for a large group by finding recipes, gathering ingredients, determining cost and quantity, and considering factors like space restrictions or food allergies.
When it came time for the big event, students wore proper attire and served guests in a professional manner, maintaining both front and back of house mannerisms. Following the successful brunch, Jaronowski took the students on a field trip to the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center to see the commercial kitchen and educational restaurant. There, the junior chefs also visited with students, instructors and professionals in the culinary field.