School Restaurant Gives Students The Chance To Show Off Their Culinary Skills

POSTED: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 11:04am

UPDATED: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 1:10pm

EL PASO- Students at a Borderland High School get to spend part of their day learning how to cook foods of all kind.

Through this class, they get to taste food they wouldn’t normally get to try, but most importantly, they can turn what they learn into life-long careers.

"The food was really, really good. I even took a picture of it. It was beautiful," said Maggie Ronquillo.

Roasted squash and lobster bisque, filet of pork wellington, and chocolate terrine for desert.
Students at Americas High School's culinary class had a lot on their plate as they cooked up a holiday feast for faculty members and special guests.

"The food was delicious. We were even talking at the table about getting the recipes because it was that good," says Maggie.

Students showcase what they learn in their culinary class once a month at their restaurant, Beyond Borders, located inside their school. The restaurant has a different theme every month depending on what kind of food they're serving.

"September is easy: Hispanic heritage month. October: German food. And Chinese New Year and stuff like that, so we'll do a theme," says Chef David Dean.

Chef David Dean has his students run the restaurant as if it were the real thing, complete with a hostess and servers. After this lunch is over another 40 guests will arrive in less than an hour so students have to clean up, do the dishes by hand and do the service process all over again.

Before getting hands-on experience cooking with Chef Dean, students first learn about the business aspect of things.

"The restaurant management is more theory and the culinary art is more practical application of that the second year," says Chef Dean.

Students say they get hands-on experience they can develop into careers while having a blast.

"He always has the class laughing and he never, you always look forward to coming to his class," says Diego Lucero.

Senior Diego Lucero, who's already interning at a well-known local restaurant, says through the class, he realized how much he enjoyed cooking.

"This class helped me a lot. This class helped me find out what I wanted to find out for a career," says Diego. "The chef helped me greatly what I liked. He's a good guy."

And for those who don't plan on cooking being their bread and butter, they'll at least know how to make a square meal.

"If they're not going to go on to get a job, they're going to learn to cook for themselves and for the people they love. That's enough," says Chef Dean.

Chef David Dean has about 200 students throughout the day. Some have gone on to become chefs here and in other cities. The culinary arts program is offered at all four high schools in the Socorro Independent School District.

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That will be a change from just rice and beans

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