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Students train for the culinary arts at high school cafe

Students train for the culinary arts at high school cafe (ABC7)

It's lunchtime and the Mount Vernon Cafe is open for business.

"This is want I want to do for the rest of my life. This is what I want to do. Culinary," Mina Dapaah, 16, shared.

Dapaah is getting the experience she'll need to accomplish that at her school, Mount Vernon High, in Alexandria.

Family Consumer Science Teacher Janet Rockymore educates students in the culinary arts program. She explained the program encompasses: "Culinary arts, baking and pastry, food service management or dining room services."

"We have a classroom next door where I do the theory part of it. The quizzes, the tests, the information, the demos. Then, we open the cafe and that's where they get the real life hands-on experience," Rockymore added.

Quest Smith, 18, has learned a lot in his first year in the program.

"How to prepare food and how to measure food and how serve customers too," he said.

Many of the teachers who eat in the cafe are satisfied ones like Math Teacher Randi Davison.

"On a scale of one to 10 it's definitely a 10. The taste is amazing, the presentation is great, the service was really friendly," she stated.

When students graduate from the program, they leave with a food safety certificate and in some cases college credit.

For Dapaah, that represents getting a step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a chef.

"I'm going to be cutting, I'm going to be broiling, I'm going to be baking and moving everywhere. I'm going to be serving. That's why this program is so important to me because it's giving me real experience," she said.

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