ECTA Culinary Students team up with CCSD Food Service


Leslie Kain

East Tech’s Chef Hull of the Culinary Arts program and CCSD Food Service collaborated on a PBL for the Culinary seniors. The focal point, or “driving question” of the entire project was making a soup or entree out of a set list of ingredients that will fit into the budget and nutritional guidelines of the school lunch program.

The students took a field trip to CCSD’s Food Service Administrative Offices, warehouse, main kitchen, and food testing area on Monday, March 6th. Jennifer Sifuentes gave a presentation to the group, honing in on new programs and items being implemented, including, but not limited to, Second Chance Breakfast. After this, the seniors were given the chance to tour the facilities and see the amount of and variety of the foods there.

To conclude the trip, they had the opportunity to taste test three items on the lunch menu for CCSD schools that were being proposed/repurposed and record their thoughts and opinions on them. As they finished their tastings and began their lunch, they listened to the Director of Food Services, David Wines.

Over the course of March 7th to the 15th, the seniors collaborated in small groups in order to create their versions of schools lunches that, in turn, staff of the CCSD Food Service could taste test. They had to keep in mind saturated fat, sodium, calories, and the cost of each serving for the entree as well as the soup. The guidelines for both were a maximum of 500 calories, 5 g of saturated fat, and 600 mg of sodium, while costing at most $1 per serving.

On March 16th and 17th, the Food Service staff of CCSD made visits to ECTA and watched the presentations and displays set up. Each group used formal tablecloths and dishware in their displays. The staff then tasted the food items and decided on the most delicious entree and soup for every class.

Through this experience, the students learned how to incorporate spices and herbs to add flavor to dishes without adding extra saturated fat and calories. They also learned how to calculate the cost per serving of their dish.
“It made us more aware of what we are eating every day. It also made us realize what goes into nutrition and costing, and how difficult that can be.” -Ashley Hassler, senior in the Culinary program.