When school was closed in March due to the Covid19 and teachers were asked to provide online learning, you might have asked “how does one learn to cook or bake online.” What might have seemed like an obstacle in the academic setting was not a problem for the South and West Consortium Culinary Program at Saline High School. Chef Musto quickly remarked, “I have been teaching online in the culinary program for over 25 years at Schoolcraft College, the switch to this type of instruction will not be a roadblock for our curriculum.” Although students were not able to report to the beautiful kitchen at the high school and wear their white uniform, instruction continued. Chef Sam Musto, Chef Danielle Phelps and Chef Bill Collins quickly converted to their new format of teaching. Students were given the opportunity to Bake, Cook and earn industry certificates from such prestigious organizations as the American Culinary Federation, the National Restaurant Association, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Students eared National Certifications through online Instruction
Chef Instructor Sam Musto and his two Chef Technicians quickly created recipes, videos and lessons that allowed the students to create given recipes at home. The response that was received by students included remarks like, “that was fun, when do we get the next recipe?” and “I followed your video and made dinner for my family tonight, mom wants to know what I am cooking next,” said Chef Musto. Chef Musto explained, “now that we are sheltered-in-place and restaurants are closed, it is a great time to focus on our culinary skills and education”.
The SWWC culinary program includes such classes as Intro to Cooking and Intro to Baking for students 9th – 12 grade, and Culinary Arts for juniors and seniors. Many students who have graduated from the program are working in some of your favorite restaurants.
Chef Sam Musto, Instructor of the SWWC Culinary Program, encouraging students to engage for class credit at Saline High School
Culinary skills provide students with an enjoyable job as they move from high school through college. Students who find their passion in the classes typically continue their training at a culinary college to earn their associates degree. Chef Musto, a Certified Executive Chef, stresses the importance of education and excellent in his program. His students are known throughout the community for catering such events as dinner theater, sports banquets, charity fundraisers in addition to many other community events.
“I was pleased at how quickly students responded to the videos that we posted,” explained Musto. “Parents were supportive by shopping for ingredients, enabling student to produce recipes”. Even staff members commented, “Hey, I saw Chef Bill’s recipes on Youtube – it looked delicious,” or “one of the culinary students gave me one of Chef Danielle’s muffins they made, can I have the recipe?”
Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJFTNa1zwm8&t=129s to view Chef Bill’s brown sugar bacon video.
Baking Student Emma Bradley’s Bread
“We were thankful that our industry professional organizations provided free training for our students. Typically school budgets do not allow for the high cost of these certificates. However, COVID19 prompted these organizations to provide free training and this type of lesson is appealing to students in a google classroom since it is easy to follow and accessible,” noted Chef Musto. With videos, recipes, online instruction and a lot of encouragement, the culinary students continued to learn much-needed skills during this uncertain time. This type of engagement is what the Saline Area Schools asked to see from their teachers so that we can all make it through COVID19.