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Young chefs: Culinary Arts students host school, city officials

Students at the Culinary Arts Academy prepared lunch for members of the Troy City Board of Education and the Troy City Council Wednesday at the Academy building. The students also prepared homemade dressing, rolls and New York-style cheesecake. Inset: Members of the Troy City Council, Wanda Moultry, Stephanie Baker, Greg Meeks and Marcus Paramore enjoyed the lunch in their honor.

Students at the Culinary Arts Academy prepared lunch for members of the Troy City Board of Education and the Troy City Council Wednesday at the Academy building. The students also prepared homemade dressing, rolls and New York-style cheesecake. Inset: Members of the Troy City Council, Wanda Moultry, Stephanie Baker, Greg Meeks and Marcus Paramore enjoyed the lunch in their honor.

Students in the Culinary Arts Academy at Charles Henderson High School in Troy put their chef hats on and their culinary arts expertise into play Wednesday as they hosted a luncheon for members of the Troy City Board of Education and the Troy City Council.

The month of January is School Board Member Recognition Month and Pam Shute, Culinary Arts Academy instructor, said the students always look forward to preparing meals for guests.

“Preparing a meal for guests is a special opportunity for them to put their culinary skills into practice,” Shute said. “For the luncheon honoring the school board members and the members of the city council, the students prepared a meal that began with a chef salad and homemade ranch dressing. The entrée was grilled steak, homemade dressing, twice baked potatoes topped with asparagus, homemade rolls and Southern sweet tea.”

The meal was topped off with homemade New York-style cheesecake.

For Stephanie Baker, a newly elected member of the Troy City Council, the luncheon was a first, a very impressive first.

“It was a wonderful dining experience having the students prepare and serve our food,” Baker said. “They were very professional in their service and appearance and the food was delicious. Not only did I enjoy the meal, it was an opportunity to hear the impressive opportunities these culinary students have through this wonderful program at CHHS.

“I couldn’t help but think of Jim Smith, a Troy native, the State of Alabama’s Executive Chef, and now a top contender on TV’s ‘Top Chef.’ Jim is a graduate of CHHS and is proof that the culinary arts can lead to large opportunities, even for small town kids.”

Wednesday’s luncheon was not the first at the Culinary Arts Academy for City Council Member Wanda Moultry.

“The food was delicious and I found the young people inspiring,” Moultry said. “I am always impressed by the skills of these students. I thanked them for inviting me.”

Shute said the students who prepared the meal were some of her top students and they did an outstanding job of preparing and serving the meal.

“Presentation is everything and the meal was well presented and the students presented themselves in a very positive manner, she said.

Shute said, not only was the meal an expression of appreciation to the school board and city council members for their service to the community, it was also a learning experience for the students and an opportunity for them to showcase their culinary skills.

“The preparation of the meal and the opportunity to serve a meal in a rather formal setting was a good learning experience and one that will benefit them in the workplace if they choose to work in the food industry,” Shute said.

The students in the Culinary Arts Academy have the opportunity to earn ServSafe Certification.

“That certification gives students a better opportunity for employment in the food industry,” Shute said. “An employer doesn’t have to provide them with safety training so, most of the time, a person with a ServSafe certificate will be hired before one without the certification.”

Shute is working with Lurleen B. Wallace College in Andalusia and Trenholm State.