Culinary Arts Students Add To-Go Meals to Menu

March 24, 2021

What began as a modest service to staff has developed into a student-run restaurant operation in the Culinary Arts Classroom. Last spring, Boys Republic kitchen staff began to sell discounted groceries to staff. By July, pay crew students were preparing reasonably priced to-go dinners in the Culinary Arts Classroom for staff members.

The Family Meals Program provides realistic work experience for students who prepare quality dinners to paying customers. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Boys Republic employees can order dinner from a set menu that varies week by week. “The students are pretty self-sufficient,” Culinary Arts teacher Kelly Roth explains, who supervises the operation. “My former Culinary Arts student Carlos makes sure the new students are trained and helps keep us on schedule with people’s orders.”

REALISTIC WORK: A student reviews the dinner order he is preparing. The Family Meals Program requires students to fulfill the duties they would have in a restaurant kitchen, from preparing meals from scratch to ensuring the correct order of food for each customer.

When Chef Roth needed students experienced in cooking and asked Carlos if he would like to work in the Family Meals Program, the student readily agreed. “I like working here. I like learning how to cook new dishes and making money,” Carlos says as he packages a four-person meal of angel hair pasta and grilled chicken breast, dinner rolls, and Caesar salad. “It also makes the time go by faster because I get bored easily.”

Every workday, Carlos and his teenage co-workers scratch cook the individual ingredients required for the meal on the menu. Then, they prepare and keep track of each order to ensure it is freshly prepared and packaged by the time the customer’s pickup time. “I teach them what Chef Kelly taught me,” Carlos says, nodding towards two other students weighing to-go containers of pasta. And Carlos’ instruction has clearly been successful since the students continue to operate the popular program much to the delight of staff.