|sonoma valley high School Culinary|
We all need to eat so we all might as well learn to cook food that tastes good and makes us feel great.
I started teaching in 2007 at Santa Rosa Junior College. I had over twenty-five years experience in the culinary fields when I started teaching there. I'd worked in restaurants in the SF Bay Area and Paris, France, baked at ACME Bread Company (one of the Bay Area’s finest artisan bakeries), owned and operated my own restaurant for ten years, and had a Master’s degree in Anthropology and Education from Columbia U. in New York City.
I taught and mentored lots of aspiring chefs and bakers in my restaurant and this experience helped when I started teaching in schools. However, despite all of this experience, even including classes I taught at the junior college, six years ago I was definitely not prepared to teach high school students. Teaching in high school was a whole other ball game: fun, but challenging. Teenagers are amazing, awesome, and often totally a pain. (You know you are.)
Now I feel like I’ve settled into my high school teacher role. It took a while but I really enjoy teaching these crazy, frustrating, inspiring teenagers and feel that I have a great deal to offer them. They thrive when treated as thoughtful, intelligent, and successful human beings. Working with them goes beyond merely teaching them to cook. Teaching baking and cooking is more than just teaching a very practical skill, it is also an avenue to helping kids to feel successful and valuable.
The culinary program at SVHS is a work in progress and always evolving.
This is a great school and a great place to learn to cook. Not only are we lucky enough to be located in Sonoma County with all of its great farms, food, and restaurants but we work closely with the agriculture department to help raise pigs and chickens right here on campus. We also take trips to local farms to see how our fruit and vegetables are grown and eventually we will have our own kitchen garden. Culinary students learn safety and sanitation, kitchen skills, about what goes into raising our food, and how to make all kinds of delicious dishes that we eat and serve to students and staff.