The Culinary Arts students and Department Head John Krusi put on many special events for the staff and students at Bridgerland Technical College. These events include a Halloween Party, Christmas celebration with traditional sugar cookies and a Valentine’s tea party.
However, today’s barbecue was specifically for the students and teachers in the Culinary Arts program. It gave students a chance to get to know each other better and celebrate their love of food. Each event is completely carried out through student participation.
Krusi oversees the cooking and provides the students with the opportunity to learn new skills in a theme set by the instructor. Students made their own hamburgers, buns, three kinds of cookies and prepared vegetable and fruit trays.
Kayela Sorenson a Culinary Arts student said, “When people think ‘culinary arts’, people think you are just working with food but there is so much in detail and in depth of the food techniques, whether it is learning about refrigeration, the griddle, how it all comes together. You learn a lot of methods you can just take home and apply even outside culinary arts, whether it’s this science area or mathematical exercises and that is something that will take you far besides just cooking, it will take you far in your everyday knowledge and help you be able to understand more how the world works and how everything around you here works.”
We asked how Kayela likes the hands-on approach she said, “How else are you going to learn besides just getting in there and just going for it? You learn a lot about the basics of food and a lot about yourself and how much you can handle under stress and it just grows you more in your characteristics whether that is in leadership or your independent self. It is up to you if you are willing to put in the work, because you can decide to just be in the lab and do your book work all day, but honestly, how else are you going to learn until you physically do this stuff. The challenge is what you make of it!”
Kayela said, fermentation was her favorite thing she’d learned so far. “It was something that I would only see online or through stores, but the fact that I get to do it myself actually, that is something I’ve wanted to learn about and the professors John Krusi and Rex Davidsavor, they are more than willing to take time aside and tell you how to do that. Through the instructors’ encouragement there is a let’s go, let’s make it attitude.”
Kayela’s dream career would be to run a coffee truck with her friend for the Latino community. “We want to tailor the truck for the Latino community and the Latino culture around us and have the coffee and pastries imported from Central America. But on the baking side, it won’t just be your classic morning doughnut and muffin with your coffee. It will be an item that is a very popular cultural ingredient in Central America. I would like to learn more of the baking of sweet breads so I can share a lot of the Hispanic culture in Cache County.”
Jake Kimball who has been a student for two months in the Culinary Arts program said his favorite part of the class was learning how to make new things. For any future student he said, “It’s a pretty good outlet for anything to do with the food industry, it teaches you a lot about food safety, it’s not just about food, you learn about the entire industry.” Jake also said outside of the class he likes to work with smoking meats and different ways to prepare it. His dream job is to open his own restaurant. He would like to have the profits go towards feeding people who need help in Cache Valley.
Student Jaden Davis, who has been in the program for five months said he would like to work his way through to be an executive chef. Bridgerland Technical College offers several hands-on opportunities.
Jaden said, “Between all of the catering events and high school events, you can learn how to prepare all sorts of things for a menu.” To future students he said, “It is self-paced, so you learn on your own, make up your own pace and if you are focused, it doesn’t have to take up as much time. The hands on learning forces you to go outside your comfort zone. I thought I’d never end up baking but it’s something you do early on. Recipes come from the text books and online by finding something the students enjoy. If you find the recipe the instructors are happy to try new things.”
The Culinary Arts program is a tremendous asset to the Bridgerland Technical College that preparing students for wonderful careers in the food industry helping them learn important skills for their future careers.