Sahuarita High School’s culinary students showcased their creativity and culinary skills at the SAVOR Southern Arizona Food & Wine Festival, held in Tucson. The event, part of Sahuarita’s CTE program, provided these high schoolers with a unique hands-on learning experience.
Culinary Creations Unveiled
Under the guidance of Chef Ester Flannigan, the SHS program made its debut at SAVOR last year, presenting innovative dishes like candied bacon caramel chocolate truffles and lobster deviled eggs. This year, a group of selected students, chosen for their excellent grades and active class participation, put a new twist on the classic Sonoran hot dog. The culinary creations included mini Sonoran hot dogs with cinnamon rolls as buns and habanero cheese bites.
Chef Flannigan emphasized the importance of offering familiar elements while introducing unique variations to pique curiosity. The goal was to make attendees question the dishes, enticing them to try the unconventional combinations.
SAVOR Experience: Beyond Culinary Skills
Participating in SAVOR goes beyond showcasing culinary skills. Chef Flannigan believes it’s a valuable opportunity for students to experience a high-end event, where they not only demonstrate their abilities but also learn to present themselves effectively. The exposure to upscale events provides students with a glimpse into a world they may not be accustomed to, offering a taste of the finer aspects of culinary arts.
Skill Development and Beyond
Emma Barker, a participant in the culinary program, highlighted the program’s impact on building public speaking skills. Students not only create impressive dishes but also have to articulate their culinary processes, facing questions from curious event attendees.
The program is further enriched through Pima JTED, providing students with dual enrollment, certificates of completion, and industry certifications, such as a food handler’s card. Chef Flannigan describes it as a “launch pad into adulthood,” offering students a comprehensive foundation for their future endeavors.
Student Perspectives: Teamwork and Bonding
Persaias Castillo, a senior in the program, expressed her enthusiasm for events like SAVOR, considering them highlights of the culinary program. She emphasized the importance of teamwork in handling the challenges posed by large-scale events, where time management and coordination are crucial.
Junior Emma Barker praised the bonding experience of working together, emphasizing how participating in events has contributed significantly to her culinary education. The camaraderie among students is a key aspect of the program, creating a supportive environment for learning and growth.
Culinary Dreams and Personal Journeys
The reasons for joining the program vary among students. Dominique Giblin, a senior with plans to attend culinary school, shared how his grandmother inspired his culinary journey. The program has not only helped him discover his passion but also provided clarity about his post-high school plans.
Chef Flannigan expressed her excitement about showcasing the students and the program, emphasizing the significance of sharing their culinary achievements. The program, as she described it, is indeed a big deal.
Culinary Adventures Beyond the Classroom
The Sahuarita High School culinary program offers students more than just cooking skills. Through events like SAVOR, students gain valuable experiences, develop essential skills, and form lasting bonds, setting them on a path towards a flavorful and fulfilling future.