Brentwood’s Liberty Union High School District is in the process of cooking up a new way to bring Heritage High students into the culinary arts.
Crews are constructing an on-campus classroom building that includes a kitchen, patio and small garden to serve students in a new program expected to incorporate food service, hospitality, recreation and tourism elements.
“It really is a unique, hands-on approach to culinary arts, and it’s going to provide our students another pathway to pursue career technical education,” said Heritage Principal Carrie Wells.
Scheduled to launch in August 2020, the up-to-three course opportunity will allow students to pick up basic culinary skills, food-handling certification and experience in catering, restaurant management, tourism and recreation.
Expected course titles are: Introduction to Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation; Intermediate Food Service and Hospitality; and Advanced Food Service and Hospitality, which could feature an internship component.
“Not everyone who goes into food services is cooking food,” Wells said. “Our vision is that, yes, there would be a culinary component where they would have hands-on experience with food prep and handling, but we also want to work cross-curricularly with some of our classes to bring in that business component, as well.”
Wells said the culinary arts initiative grew out of district and community discussions over what industry the immediate area could serve, following the passage of Measure U, a $122 million district bond measure approved by area voters in 2016.
“It was decided that with all the agriculture in the area, and particularly food industry agriculture, a culinary arts program would support some of the local businesses,” she said.
The culinary arts classes will be served in the evolving Measure U-funded facility that will feature a teaching space, fully functional kitchen, small garden and patio — ideal for students at lunch or as a gathering spot for school or community events that could incorporate the kitchen’s use.
The facility broke ground in April, to the left of the school’s multipurpose room, and is set for completion in December.
A committee comprising parents, outside community members, teachers, administration and school district personnel has also met numerous times to hash out key elements of the future endeavor, including courses offered, curriculum, and the ideal traits of the program’s future teacher, Wells said.
“I was very impressed with the community interest in joining our Career Technical Education (CTE) advisory group for the new culinary arts program that will come with the new classroom, café and kitchen,” said Eric Volta, superintendent of the Liberty Union High School District.
In addition to the culinary arts facility, Measure U funds are also being used to usher in a number of other district-wide improvements, including, on the Heritage campus, an environmental science outdoor lab with a small pond and stream, and a number of teaching areas.
For more information on all future Measure U projects, visit www.bit.ly/MEASUREUprojects.