More than a dozen high school students gather around prep tables in the student kitchen at Englewood High School. Ingredients are scattered about as students decide what culinary treat they will create. Today, it is all about puff pastry.
Senior Aidan Papi is here from Littleton High School and joined ProStart this year. “I really like cooking so I like to learn better ways to create good meals.” Students from other schools can choice enroll in ProStart at the beginning of the school year.
These students are part of ProStart®, a culinary program found nationwide. It is a two-year high school program. There are about 130,000 students in more than 1,700 high schools across 50 states taking part.
“Being in ProStart helps prepare you for future jobs in management, culinary, or owning your own business,” said senior Micaiah Hazard.
Students work in groups to make a desert, “We are learning to create cool designs with the pastry,” said Ria Schutte. This is her first year in the program.
Junior Noah Rose and senior Maven Theibault created homemade whipped cream by using whipping cream, powdered sugar, and a cold mixing bowl. Using the cold bowl helps the cream become thicker and whips air into it faster. Theibault has been in culinary every year in high school, “I like Mrs. Davis (teacher) and I like having freedom and fun experimenting with food.” Rose took catering last year and joined ProStart this year, “I like Mrs. Davis and her teaching style and cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. I cook dinner every night.” The class gives her ideas for a menu, “It helps me bring professional skills into my home kitchen.”
Culinary teacher Sarah Davis got her degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island. She spent years in the industry working for catering companies, both in Denver and on the east coast. She moved into teaching in 2006.