Culinary to add extra lab & teacher


photo by Courtney O'Dea

Culinary teacher Matthew Thompson supervises while juniors Samantha Gilman and Grant Dettman mix ingredients for cookie dough. Because of an increase in students signing up for the class, three teachers will teach culinary next year.

Sarah Dreyer, Staff Reporter

With almost 600 students signed up for next year, the culinary department will have a new culinary lab and a new instructor, who will be determined early in the summer, to accommodate the number of students in the program.

The culinary program started out with 150 students and then began doubling size as the years went on. It is one of the biggest programs in Seminole County high schools.

“Everybody takes culinary because we’re hands on,” teacher Jenna Macintosh said. “It’s very engaging, fun, you get to be creative and learn how to cook.”

Macintosh hopes for enough equipment and funds to be able to accommodate the department’s needs with the new room.

The new culinary classroom is expected to have the same layout as the other culinary lab, with six stations for the kitchens, counter-tops, kitchen aids, stoves and skillets. The main focus with the room, however, is the plumbing.

“It’s cool to do all of this stuff,” culinary teacher Matthew Thompson said. “But if there is nowhere for us to clean up, then it will be very hard to work.”

The culinary teachers will meet Thursday to discuss plumbing.

Currently both Thompson and Macintosh alternate between the classroom and lab, where Thompson has the kitchen for two days and Macintosh has the classroom for two days and then swap rooms. They hope to still do this, but with two kitchens and one classroom for bookwork.

“When we hire someone, we want their class to have the same experience as our classes,” Thompson said.

Next year Thompson will be teaching Culinary III and IV, Macintosh will teach Culinary II and the new instructor will teach Culinary I.

One result of the move has been the switching of several classrooms. The new room is will be in room 6-123, replacing the AP Computer Science classroom. Teacher Laura Ramsey, who had to switch rooms, understands the move.

“This is a large room and it’s across the hall. It would be beneficial to move them into here,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey is moving to room 2-100, English teacher Lisa Gendreau’s room. Gendreau’s room is the only room left on campus that can be turned into a computer lab.

Gendreau is set to move to room 2-122, math teacher Lauren Bachand’s room. After this school year is over, Bachand is moving to South Carolina.

With so many changes scheduled, those who signed up question if the lab will be ready by the beginning of next year. While the district plans to everything in place, but all that students can do is wait until August.