EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – Local students in special education had the chance to sharpen their culinary and life skills in a professional kitchen on Wednesday.
Six Chippewa Falls High School students with varying abilities are learning what goes into running the front-of-house and back-of-house of CVTC’s restaurant in Eau Claire during an actual lunch rush.
Chi-Hi and the CVTC Culinary Management Program partnered up for a pilot program.
Through it, CVTC teaches students in special education culinary skills such as safety and sanitation, food preparation and serving, and dishwashing.
When asked if she liked working here, Chi-Hi student Hayley Marsh said:
“Doing cooking things? Absolutely! But from doing dishes that are too hot for your hands, no way!”
Marsh said she’s already absorbed so many things.
“Listen from there in your mind and do from the recipes from the books there,” Marsh said. “And you can try to make your own recipe that makes it something unusual.”
Chi-Hi transition coordinator Amanda Turner likes that her students are learning from people close to their age.
“These are definitely transferable skills,” Turner said. “They can be utilized in their homes, within different jobs, might even spur interest in pursuing further education at a place like CVTC, but also just giving them an opportunity to practice and learn things in a hands-on environment and build confidence in those skills.”
And the CVTC students seem to enjoy them as well.
“I think it’s been really fun,” said CVTC culinary student Jennifer Nguyen. “I think that they’re a really cheerful class and to be able to have them be here and be a step ahead to be in the real world, I think it’s just a really good opportunity.”
“Learning recipes is fun,” said Chi-Hi student Thea Lenhart.
But no matter what profession you’re going into, Marsh wants you to be authentic.
“Always be yourself. Never give up!” Marsh said.
The pilot program runs for eight weeks for three hours a week. Officials hope more students can utilize it in the future.
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