My job requires me to help build relationships between educators and business people. It is a task I relish, because I enjoy the world of business and I've spend a good part of my life in the world of education. I feel comfortable in either.
But when the culinary arts world becomes part of the mix, I get really excited. Throw in a well-prepared meal, and I am on Cloud Nine.
I'm still coming off a high from yesterday when I joined a group of associates to enjoy lunch in a local high school classroom-cum-café. The five-table restaurant with an attached kitchen gives high-school students the chance to learn all aspects of restaurant management, from budgeting to cooking to serving.
Our lunch - of dinner-size proportions - began with an herb-y, spring salad with buttered roles. The next course was a baked and stuffed chicken breast, covered with an herb-y cream sauce and served with buttered peas and carrots. The dessert - and this was really to die for - was something called Peanut Butter Luster Pie. Imagine a caramel-y, peanut butter filling on a traditional pie crust, topped with a chocolate crust, a chocolate sauce and a generous dollop of whipped cream! I enjoyed every creamy bite.
All of it was prepared by high-school students - a crew of about 12. Polite and professional, they greeted us at the door of the school and escorted us up to the café.
The students - there are about 60 in all - routinely prepare meals for school staff and will also cater community events. What a great experience for them! I've noticed lately that high-schoolers locally are taking a greater interest in the culinary arts. We added a chef to the speakers lineup at a recent career event for teens and it was a popular presentation.
Yesterday's lunch was at the same school where I enjoyed an Empty Bowls Supper about a year ago. The bowl in the photo above is from a previous Empty Bowls Event and it reminded me of spring.
Postcript: After reading Lydia's comment, I decided I ought to ask other readers if they too are seeing an upswing in interest in culinary arts among young people. In our community, we have had two restaurants open in the last year that are owned by young men who are also chefs.