Online Classes Provide High School Students with a Head Start in Culinary Education

What happens when the sole cooking teacher of a high school leaves and the students are left with a vacancy in their cooking course? You either cut the loss or get creative. And get creative is exactly what an Alaskan high school did when they teamed up with Escoffier Online Culinary Academy this past semester. Valdez High School in Valdez, Alaska reached out to Escoffier Online when their high school culinary class faced cancellation due to the teacher unexpectedly leaving. Quick to help, Escoffier devised a plan where students could continue their culinary education via their online program.

“The online culinary program [brought] a curriculum to our classroom this semester,” said Brianne Kimberlin, the Valdez teacher overlooking the program. “It also brought a professional chef to the classroom, which we would have not otherwise had if we did not use Escoffier…”

Focusing on a virtual education, the course allowed students to interact with one of Escoffier’s instructors via Google+ Hangouts, comprehensive video tutorials and online executive chef mentoring. It also gave the students access to chef-designed programs that let them learn the building blocks of culinary and pastry arts. And although high school student’s appetites may lean toward pizza and burgers, the course offered education on how to cook healthier, more intricate dishes, enriching their palettes as well as their overall culinary skills.

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The program also offered an option for the future. If, during the course of the class, students ignited a dormant passion for the culinary arts, the program offered a $500 scholarship toward Escoffier tuition if they chose to enroll in one of the full Culinary Fundamentals or Baking and Pastry programs.

All it took was a unique idea and internet access and the future of high school culinary programs was born.

“I think Escoffier is a great program if a school would like to offer a culinary class to their students but they cannot find a certified culinary teacher to do it in person” Kimberlin said. “I do think other high schools would benefit from using this program.”

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