The West Ottawa High School junior worked with classmates to make cream cheese and leek soup with ham during class. She and her classmates are among the first to use the nearly 6,000-square-foot renovated space.
Tubergen, 16, said she became involved in the program because she’s always had an interest in cooking. She likes the renovated space because it helps prepare her for cooking in a restaurant's kitchen.
“It’s really cool to come in here,” she said.
Joe Carmolli, a culinary and pastry arts instructor for the Careerline Tech Center, said the renovations are part of a two-year process.
The project broke ground in May 2013. Most of the construction happened this past summer, and the space was ready to move into in October.
The center’s previous culinary kitchen was designed and geared toward being a production kitchen. Carmolli said the program used to operate a restaurant, but the program has since removed that component.
The new facility includes a combination steam/convection oven, two broiler ovens, a new fryer and a tiered demonstration lab area. There are also six work areas with gas burners, flat-top griddles, oven, gas grill and work tables with sinks.
“It’s designed so everyone can be hands-on,” Carmolli said.
In addition to learning about nutrition and food handling procedures, students also become ServSafe certified and practice math lessons related to preparing meals.
Two to three times each week, students have math warm-up problems to get them thinking about cost management.
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