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Culinary Arts Students Eat Up Industry Experience
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Riverbank High School students took a moment from their service at the Escalon Sportsman’s Club for a photo opportunity to document their hard work at the Central Valley Community Resources third annual crab feed earlier this month.
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Culinary students experienced a food show in Pleasanton earlier this month where they got to taste a variety of items that could possibly be served at their cafeteria.

The culinary students at Riverbank High School have been busy along with Instructor Emily Cowdrey lending a hand at a local crab feed, a tea party, and getting exposure to a food show, all this month. Making sure that students get an insightful view of food, nutrition, and the culinary arts with a variety of events and opportunity for community service credits, Cowdrey routinely has several students out in the community.

With 10 students in attendance to assist in setting up and serving a packed house at the crab feed hosted by Central Valley Community Resources on Feb. 9, the students put in the work. Each participant had an assigned area and were responsible for a number of tables within that area.

“They (students) did great,” said Cowdrey. “They ran the front of the house service.”

The students will also be making dessert for the Riverbank Booster Crab Feed on Saturday, March 30 that will be for sale to raise funds for the prom.

The same weekend as the CVCR crab feed, the class was also busy on Sunday, Feb. 10 as Cowdrey and a dozen students served approximately 80 people at Congregation Beth Shalom in Modesto for a Tea Service. They made 300 tea sandwiches including curried egg salad, cucumber dill, and apple with brie as well as 200 scones.

“They worked in the kitchen as well as front of house pour and refilling tea,” added Cowdrey. “They did great. It’s always challenging to go to a kitchen and cook and have enough space for everything but they managed quite well.”

The community events benefit the class members in a couple of different ways. Not only do they receive knowledge of what it takes to put on events and learn some new industry tips, Cowdrey said, but they also receive community service credits.

And most recently, eight students got to experience a food show in Pleasanton at the fairgrounds where several vendors brought food for guests to taste that could be served at the cafeteria on campus.

“We were invited by our district Nutrition Service Director,” explained Cowdrey. “This was to be able to help choose foods students get in the cafeteria. They got to see and taste food from different food vendors. There were rows and rows of different products available for sale to school cafeterias.”

With an assortment of edible items to taste, students chose flyers and took notes on foods that they were interested in for their own cafeteria giving them knowledge of the foods that are available. Some of the favored items from the students, Cowdrey shared, were the mac and cheeses, a mocha freeze beverage, and some of the pizzas.

“A lot of the vendors were commodity so our school would purchase the food at low cost and then have it sent to that vendor to make the food to consume,” expressed Cowdrey. “It was super interesting.”

Meanwhile, the students have a garden on the RHS campus and will be expanding the space right outside their classroom, noted Cowdrey. Eight students from the culinary arts class will also be competing in the Stanislaus County Occupational Olympics in March.