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OES students put on hairnets and aprons for introduction to food trades
Young students donned hairnets and aprons Friday for a taste of what it’s like to work in the culinary arts and food service industries.
The Grade 6 and 7 students from Osoyoos Elementary School were busy preparing meals during Yes 2 It Trades Exploration Day at Osoyoos Secondary School.
Showing them the ropes were four volunteer journeymen from the community who work in various jobs in the food industry.
“At the end of last year I surveyed the students about what they would like to do and one of the big ones that most students asked for was culinary arts,” said teacher Boyd Turnbull, who organized the event at high schools in Osoyoos, Oliver and Keremeos. “It fits quite nicely with our tourist and hospitality industries that we have in the South Okanagan.”
Turnbull is the career education co-ordinator and technology education teacher at Similkameen Elementary Secondary School in Keremeos.
At one station, children learned how to apply icing to pastries.
Teaching them were Holly Sens, a journeyman baker, and Shannon Peltier of Lake Village Bakery.
At the next station, Bruce Mikulecky, meat manager at Family Foods, was showing students how to tie up roasts, using blocks of wood in place of real meat.
At a third station, Troy Bratton, owner of TDC Catering, had the students arranging plates of chicken, carrots, potatoes and green beans with a tomato sauce on the chicken. Presentation is important, he advised them.
Turnbull said he and Rod Kitt, the career co-ordinator in Osoyoos and Oliver, called around to contacts in the food industry to arrange for presenters to come in.
Different local presenters came to each school and presented on different days last week.
Turnbull is a strong believer in exposing children to the trades.
In fact, he advises students to get a trade they can fall back on before continuing on to university if they are so inclined.
“I think all the kids should take advantage of the apprenticeship programs in high school that are available,” said Turnbull. “I think they should go from high school to a trade school and then, if they want to go on to university, they should do that after. I think we’d end up with better citizens that way.”
Students who get credentials in one area of the food industry can often move easily to others, he said, noting Mikulecky started in a bakery before working with meats.
Yes 2 It Trades Exploration Day is a joint initiative between School District 53, the Industry Training Authority and local trades people and businesses.
For most of the students, their only exposure to the culinary arts previously was going out for dinner or maybe watching food preparation on television, Turnbull said.
“They do get a little excited,” he said. “The biggest thing was ‘Do we get to eat the food when we’re done?’ They love that.”
At the end of the 90-minute immersion in food services and culinary arts, and after having their creations judged, the students sat down to enjoy the lunch they had made.