Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Bon Appetit! Seattle Skills Center Students Shadow Chefs at Tom Douglas Restaurants
    Posted on 08/06/2018
    Superintendent Juneau talks with students

    Bon Appetit! Seattle Skills Center Students Shadow Chefs at Tom Douglas Restaurants

    Culmination of Summer Coursework

    Students taking career-technical education (CTE) summer courses through the Seattle Skills Center had an opportunity to meet with local chefs and employees in the restaurant industry at an event sponsored by Tom Douglas.

    Douglas is a renowned chef with restaurants scattered throughout the city, such as Dahlia Bakery, Lola and Serious Biscuit. During the day-long event, more than 100 Seattle Public Schools (SPS) students taking summer courses in culinary arts and horticulture courses participated in a walking and eating tour of several of Douglas’ restaurants.

    Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau welcomed students and celebrated the successful completion of their summer courses.

    “Career-connected learning is something I support because it provides students with relevant learning experiences and is one of the many pathways to success,” said Superintendent Juneau. “It opens doors for internships and jobs and demonstrates that there are many pathways to success.”

    Industry partners, such as Tom Douglas Restaurants, have benefitted CTE programs in different ways. When connections with industry partners are forged, teachers have access to equipment and learning spaces. They can also stay updated on current trends and make their instruction more relevant. Furthermore, it is through these partnerships where students gain glimpses into real-word experiences as they connect the dots between a CTE course and a future career.

    Students Bridging their Learning

    For students like Maya, a sophomore at Roosevelt High School, the day presented itself as a culmination of her learning.

    During the walking and eating tour, Maya had a chance to speak to Maria, one of the restaurant staff at Douglas’ restaurants. “I took Spanish 3 in my freshman year. Using my language skills, I was able to translate the dialogue between my classmates and Maria,” said Maya. “She was demonstrating how to make tortillas from scratch, and those tortillas are apparently really famous. They’re listed on the menu as ‘Maria’s Tortillas.’”

    Maya has always been fascinated by the Spanish language and had taken all the Spanish courses her school could offer. She decided to explore another one of her hobbies this summer by taking a class on it. “I like cooking. I especially enjoy cooking for my family,” Maya said. “I decided to sign up for the ‘Intro to Culinary Arts’ course to learn more.”

    On the tour, Maya also got a glimpse into the story of a chef and her journey. “On one of our tour stops, we walked into Dahlia Bakery and met a young chef. She learned how to bake from her grandma and entered the culinary world at a young age,” she recalled.

    The young chef had given Maya and her classmates advice on pursuing a career in the culinary arts. “She told us it’s a lot of hard work. She started her career as a dishwasher and climbed her way up the ranks,” said Maya.

    Skills Center Classes Open Doors to Different Paths

    Andrew Chamberlain, a teacher at Roosevelt High School felt that there is a bigger picture to be seen when students enroll in a Skills Center course.

    “One day, I asked my students to bring in a recipe from their heritage, and that it could be something they eat for dinner with their family. Students shared the dish with the class and talked about what the dish personally meant to them,” he recalled. “For students taking a culinary arts course, it can be an opportunity for them to engage in cultural dialogue and acceptance.”

    Chamberlain said that every student has an individualized story to tell, and through learning spaces such as a culinary arts classroom, students have opportunities to learn more about each other’s differences.

    The culinary arts courses are one example of how CTE courses offered through the Seattle Skills Center can connect students to more learning pathways, career opportunities and a professional network. For interested students, contacting your counselor can be a great way to learn more about how your interests align with the many course offerings.

    Read more about Seattle Skills Center including how to apply for school year programs.