FHS welcomes new culinary arts kitchen

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, December 1, 2010

FRANKLIN—Jacob Keller hopes to make a career in the culinary industry. That’s why the 18-year-old Franklin High School senior is glad the school has a new state-of-the-art culinary arts kitchen.

“It’s a vast improvement on what we had last year,” he said.

Keller is one of nearly 30 students in the school’s culinary arts program, said Carolyn Hurdle, who teaches the classes. On Oct. 25, the new kitchen, featuring commercial-grade appliances, opened for students.

“It’s awesome. It’s very conducive to teaching and learning,” Hurdle said. “It’s not too small that you can’t be productive with the cooking and it’s not so large that you lose focus of the demonstration-type atmosphere.”

The new kitchen includes the kitchen area and a small dining area. Principal Rodney Berry said students “love” the new facility.

“It’s not very often that the average person gets to work in a facility like that, so we are very fortunate and blessed to have this facility here at the school,” he said. “The students are thrilled with it.”

In 2009, the School Board OK’d the improved facility, financed by state stabilization funds made available by the federal stimulus package.

In order to use the kitchen equipment and cook, students must first pass certifications in food-handing and safety procedures. Once students complete Culinary Arts I and II with 400 hours of practice, they can take a test to become industry certified, Hurdle said.

Students in the program cook everything from meats, vegetables, desserts, soups and sauces, Hurdle said.

“We do all kinds of things,” she said. Last week, students cooked a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, string beans, rolls and sweet potato pie.

Berry said he is grateful to the school division’s administration team as well as the School Board for the new kitchen.

“We’ve got a lot of cooks here in the school and they are really excited about the opportunity to work in a brand new lab,” he said. “It’s a lab like I’ve never seen before.”