Culinary class takes its lessons on the road

Dan Pelle photo

Tymberli Carson and Garrett Dunham, rear, bake holiday cookies at The Community School on Dec. 6, 2012. On Monday, the students, along with their teacher and chef, will be making goodies like these and will be using skills they learned throughout the semester in culanary class to cook a full meal for the 30 or so residents at the Ronald McDonald House.

December 9, 2012 - Updated: 7:11 a.m.

Tymberli Carson hopes to be a chef one day.

On Monday the 17-year-old will have a trial run.
Carson is one of five Community School culinary students who, along with the school’s chef, Rene Sellgren, will take their cooking skills to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane,a nonprofit that provides temporary lodging and support for families with children receiving medical care.

“I think it will be good to help out people in the community,” Carson said. “I think it’s a good place. I think it will be fun.”

Carson is in the first culinary class taught at Spokane Public Schools’ Community School, a project-based high school. The studentshave practiced cooking since October, about 40 class hours.

On Monday’s menu: spinach and mushroom stuffed chicken breast, quinoa, roasted vegetables and mini cheesecakes.

“The chicken breast is probably the toughest,” said Garrett Dunham, a junior, who also hopes to have a career in cooking.

“They are going to learn how to put a dinner out for 30 people,” Sellgren said. “I feel very confident in the five kids we have that they will be able to make a meal in two and half hours.”

On Thursday, the students practiced baking cookies because the group also plans to prepare baked goods for Ronald McDonald House residents to take to their hospitalized children.

After the goodies were cooked, Carson and Dunham carefully frosted and decorated the heart- and star-shaped treats with green and red sprinkles.

Sellgren enjoys teaching the students to cook, but she also thinks it’s important to teach the students about giving back.

“We’re a community, and the Ronald McDonald House is part of our community, too,” she said.

If Dunham fulfills his dream of owning his own restaurant, he plans to give back by taking the leftover food to a shelter.

Theresa Norman, a Ronald McDonald House Charities manager, said this is the first time high school students are going to cook there.

“It’s wonderful when people come, because guests here love a home-cooked meal,” Norman said. “They usually just grab a quick meal, and sometimes they don’t eat at all.”

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