A feast was served up at Riverbank High School this past Tuesday, just before school got out for the Thanksgiving break, for all the staff by the culinary class led by first year Culinary Arts and ROP teacher Amanda Monyko.
The meal is presented to the staff to show the students’ appreciation for their hard work throughout the school year.
The meal started out with a Caesar salad and warmed golden rolls. The staff was offered three varieties of turkey, Cranberry glaze, Spicy Moroccan, or Traditional with fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with garlic and chives, roasted sweet potatoes with honey and cinnamon, green bean casserole made with a cashew cream sauce and crispy onions, and stuffing made with fresh herbs and tart apples. The luncheon ended with dessert that included a traditional apple pie and a mini pumpkin swirl cheesecake that was crowd-pleasing, according to Monyko.
“For my first year organizing the Thanksgiving Feast, I was relieved to hear so many words of praise,” said Monyko. “The staff had so many positive things to say.”
The culinary class catered to 55 staff members at the lunch and had eight ‘to go’ orders.
“The students were responsible for all of the cooking,” added Monyko. “There was no way it could have been done any other way.”
Each of the 17 culinary students was in charge of their own recipes.
“All recipes were successfully served hot and cooked to perfection,” expressed Monyko. “Also, I’m so grateful for leadership for their expertise and hard work decorating the classroom. This was truly a team event.”
Monyko is experiencing her first year at RHS where she explained that she is learning a lot. She received her degree in Dietetics and minored in biology at CSU Sacramento. Her main focus is health and nutrition.
“Teaching cooking is the icing on the cake because so much of health is tied to our ability to provide our families with a nutritious home cooked meal,” added Monyko. “So many struggle with, not only managing their time in order to prepare a meal, but also deciphering between what food items are considered healthy and what should be avoided.
“Overall I am enjoying my first year teaching and feel blessed to be at such a great, supportive school and district.”
Teachers and RHS staff, in turn, felt blessed to have a great holiday meal – prepared by the students – to share.