The Ohio State University Extension Family Consumer Science Educators, Treva Williams and Dennis DeCamp presented the Serve Safe Level One food handler curriculum to the Culinary Fundamentals students at Northwest High School.
DeCamp shared that the students were engaged in a three-hour curriculum, including an end of course examination. All students received two certificates, one from Serve Safe and the other from Ohio State University, representing the Ohio Department of Health.
Decamp was excited to share that the students did exceptionally well on their post-assessment and commended them for their efforts and said that one student recently shared that she was employed at a local food establishment because of the training she had received during the class.
The Culinary Fundamentals class is part of the Family and Consumer Science classes taught at Northwest High School by Cathy Jo Reynolds.
Reynolds stated that within Family Consumer Sciences, one of her courses is Culinary Fundamentals, and an essential part of the course is food safety, so Reynolds went to the extension office where they administered the Serve Safe Program Level One.
DeCamp and Williams came out for two days of instruction and administered the post-test for Serve Safe Level One training. The test was all about temperature, cross-contamination, and keeping food safe and that the certificate is good for three years.
“So, these kids can take this certificate to any restaurant or foodservice facility and show them, ‘hey I have this training,’ and they could probably be hired on the spot, it has happened,” Reynolds said. “Most of the kids, it’s probably going to be their first job and even if they are just 15 now, they still have plenty of time on the certificate. There is another level, which is level two. but it is for five days.”
Reynolds continued, “DeCamp and Williams came in and arranged to teach them and that included them taking the test and luckily, they all passed. There were two classes and they both took the training and it was for about 34 of the students.”
The Culinary Class is currently only one semester at Northwest, but that next semester she will have the same students and they will be taking a course called Global Food. Reynolds teaches six different classes. She said in the fundamental class; she teaches knife skills.
“Picture 20 kids at the round tables with an eight-inch chef knife,” Reynolds said. “One girl was trembling, and I asked what was wrong and she said, my mom doesn’t let me touch knives. So, I bring the head of our food service, who is a chef, and he comes in and helps with that.”
Reynolds explained students practiced with carrots, celery and onions and froze those items to make their own stock and vegetable soup in a future class. Once the soups are made, students bag it in quart bags and freeze them to take to a food pantry.
“We did that last year and we did 82 bags of homemade vegetable soup,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds teaches grades 9-12, so she does have a mixture of ages. This year she has a lot of sophomores. Reynolds is a graduate of Northwest and said, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would teach at my old school, but the opportunity came up there and I tell the kids that you never know where you might end up.”
Reynolds also said a lot of students have an interest in the classes, “because food, who doesn’t like food?”
With her upcoming Global class, Reynolds will teach food across America first with things students are familiar with share food cross the globe.
“We will do regions of the globe and it’s not just food, it’s about sustainability and how it works and why do we have these areas where they are starving, and talk about drought and it’s not just food here,” Reynolds said.
DeCamp expressed that Reynolds does a great job helping to prepare her students for real-life challenges in her many classes of Family Consumer Sciences and that this is one of the many productive things happening at Northwest.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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