Culinary Program Offers Career Jump-Start


Mackenzie Rosenthal

Lauren Turner places chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack. Preparing recipes is one part of the Culinary Arts curriculum, but students also learned essential kitchen safety and kitchen management skills.

Mackenzie Rosenthal, News Editor

In the kitchen of a cooking class, five students gather around to prepare a variety of dishes, a savory and sweet aroma wafting down the hallway.

There are usually about 10-12 students in a usual culinary class at the high school, but due to current situations enrollment has taken a hit because students do not want to take it virtually.

Culinary arts student Kori McKinney describes what drew her to the cooking program. “My family cooks a lot so it inspired me to start cooking and it’s just a lot of fun to me.”

Whenever someone cooks there are usually some kinds of flavors to explore and experiment with. Kori remarks that because her family cooks all the time it “comes to her naturally.”

After graduating high school, the next step in having a career in the food industry is going to culinary school. According to McKinney, “I’m hoping to open my own business and stay in St. Louis with my family.”

One way to get ideas on what to cook, tips on how to improve your skills, or just simply for entertainment is cooking shows. Kori’s favorite cooking show is Guys Grocery Games because “when they shop it makes me want to be there and cook and it just looks like a lot of fun to do.”

Cooking for others can be fun and another great way to improve your cooking skills. “Half the time, my family really wants me to cook for them and sometimes I cook for my friends so they can taste my food,” McKinney stated.

Many families have unique family recipes that they love to either cook for others or themselves. McKinney explains her family recipe is “Twice Baked Potatoes. You take out the insides of the potatoes and fill it up with toppings and then you add the insides back into the potato and bake it.”

According to McKinney, she has been wanting to pursue going into the food industry for as long as she can remember.

PHS offers many opportunities that lead to success no matter what career students may choose. Culinary arts teacher Mrs. Favazza explains what Pattonville offers for the food industry.

“In Intro to Culinary students receive a serv safe certificate that shows they are safe in food safety and sanitation. Culinary arts students have the option to get the serv safe manager certificate which is more advanced and would help if they wanted to be a manager at a restaurant,” Mrs. Favazza stated.

In addition to this, Pattonville also usually has many connections to outside opportunities. “We have some alumni who are chefs who are usually guest speakers,” Mrs. Favazza explains. “After COVID, we are planning to work on giving students more extended food opportunities. But right now it’s not available to us.”

In Intro to Culinary Arts and Culinary Arts classes, students learn a variety of skills and things they need to know to get into the food industry in the near future. “Intro to culinary arts learns the basic knife skills, the different cooking methods, and they also learn restaurant service management. In Culinary arts they build the skills they learned in intro, they get to start cooking seafood and meat, how to price their menu, and about marketing,” stated Mrs. Favazza.

In previous years, the culinary arts class has catered many types of food for in-district events, including the Veterans Day breakfast, staff appreciation lunch in, and Taste of Pattonville. They have also catered desserts for the trivia night hosted by the Pattonville Education Foundation. Culinary arts has also done some fundraising and sold chocolate-covered strawberries.

For more information on Pattonville High School’s Culinary Arts program, check out Intro to Culinary Arts and Culinary Arts in the PHS Course Catalog.