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  • Culinary Arts Takes Center Stage

    Culinary arts takes center stage

    Cruciferous vegetables star of show in partnership with Chartwells

    Culinary Arts instructor Vincent Salvatore and his students Stacie DeGain, Felicia Schafer and Esmeralda Chaires prepare to serve up broccoli slaw during a special taste testing event on Friday, March 24. photo by Maria Brown.

    April 05, 2017
    CAPAC — Cruciferous...it's hard to pronounce, let alone eat but those nutrient-packed veggies were the star of the show during a special taste testing event at Capac Jr./Sr. High School on Friday, March 24.

    During two lunch hours, culinary arts students and their instructor served up broccoli slaw, topped with crunchy kale chips to staff and students.

    The event was the brainchild of the district's Director of Dining Services through Chartwells, Vicki Watson.

    "Chartwells has a 'Chef To School' program that we run in the schools all during the school year. So I thought I would put a twist on it and invite the culinary students from Capac Jr./Sr. High School to come in and show off their skills in front of their peers," Watson said.

    "Chartwells' food focus for March is cruciferous vegetables, so we decided to feature a recipe from that category."

    Culinary Arts students, Stacie DeGain and Felicia Schaefer, both Capac seniors and Esmeralda Chaires, a junior from Memphis, served up the salad with help from St. Clair County TEC instructor Vincent Salvatore.

    Salvatore said he knows first-hand that teenagers can be picky eaters, but he said he's always encouraging his students and others to expand their horizons though taste testing opportunities like Friday's

    "I teach teenagers so I know they're skeptical about trying new things," Salvatore said.

    "So often they'll say 'I don't like that' and I say 'have you ever tried it?' Their answer is usually 'no.'"

    The broccoli slaw featured shredded broccoli—a cruciferous vegetable—mixed with sweet chopped onions and an olive oil and apple cider vinegar-based dressing.

    The parmesan garlic kale chips on top was designed to "give a nice crunch factor and different texture," Salvatore said.

    Many testers gave thumbs up or nods of appreciation after just one bite.

    DeGain, Schaefer and Chaires are three of 44 students in Salvatore's culinary arts program at the county TEC Center in Marysville. Students learn the fundamentals of food preparation through lots of hands-on learning, he said. The program features a full catering business, snack shop and provides all meals for the Woodland Development Center.

    "Students are learning great life skills and employability skills too," Salvatore said.

    April 5, 2017