Lunch is on them

Published 6:15 pm Friday, November 21, 2008

COURTLAND — The lunch fare was something you would expect to see at a fancy restaurant: Swedish meatballs, buttered noodles, garden peas, carrots julienne and pumpkin cake with cream cheese and coconut frosting for dessert.

And that’s the idea behind Debra Holt’s culinary arts program class at the Southampton Technical Center. For the Southampton High School students enrolled in her class, their job is to transform the Wigwam cafeteria into what most lunchgoers would consider to be an upscale eatery.

It’s all part of their training to possibly prepare them for a career in the culinary arts.

Holt said the culinary arts program is over two years old, and is for juniors and seniors at the school. First-year students specialize in serving the food in the dining room and learning dining room skills. Second-year students focus on food preparation.

This is Holt’s 20th year of teaching the culinary arts program.

The culinary arts students serve lunch several times a semester at the Wigwam, which is a licensed restaurant, Holt said. The class also performs some catering jobs.

The program has recently been nominated for the Virginia Governor’s Career and Technical Education Exemplary Standards Award.

“The governor is looking at career and technical education to help to improve the students in Virginia and make them better marketable employees when they graduate, or encourage them to continue their education,” Holt said. “They’re looking for exemplary programs in the state.”

Holt said this was the first year the state has given the award.