By Kimberly Humes
7:11 PM PST, February 20, 2013
Recently, students featured a three-course meal wholly inspired by Valentine's Day that included Strawberry Stuffed French Toast, and their Culinary Arts teacher was kind enough to share the recipe for this delectable dish.
Something exquisite is cooking at Southwest High School, thanks to Amanda Hill’s innovative Culinary Arts program. Growing up in the Imperial Valley, Hill was raised to believe that good food brings out the best in people, an ethic of caring that she incorporates into her teaching philosophy. For two years, she has successfully run the popular course at Southwest High, sharing her enthusiasm for cooking with cheerful energy and down-to-earth proficiency. The class works alongside Southwest High’s Agricultural department, utilizing food grown in the campus garden. They also have collaborated with professional caterers, as well as the Imperial Valley Food Bank, and assisted in fundraisers for other school clubs, including SAVAPA and the SHS orchestra.
The impact Hill has on students is clear: “I have a passion for food,” Tiaira Snowden explains. “I’m hungry all the time so why not study something that I love? This class has made me realize that I want to go to culinary school.”
A few times a month her students prep, cook, and serve faculty and staff special cuisines from around the world in a deliciously educational Café Day. In addition to learning culinary basics such as food sanitation and preparation, culinary nutrition and food pairing, Hill strongly emphasizes teaching skills that “give them an opportunity to get some real world experience,” whether they choose to pursue a culinary career or simply want to develop their cooking talents.
“It’s different here every single day. My students chose to be here, and I get to show them what I love to do. You [begin] to see them shine,” says Hill proudly.
In addition to expanding student interest and cultivating work ethics, one unexpected reward from the class is the self-confidence that comes from seeing the finished product and the compliments that students receive for their efforts.
“I love learning about different cultures and appreciate how recipes pass from generation to generation. I would love to travel and taste the food from different regions along the way,” Danielle Somera remarks.
Hill pushes her class to discover new foods, attempt challenging recipes and expand their culinary palate. And along the way an appreciation for creatively prepared home cooked food is discovered.
Find the Strawberry Stuffed French Toastrecipe by Amanda Hill in the February 2013 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
Copyright © 2013, Imperial Valley Press