How culinary classes coped with coronavirus


Melina Kritikopoulos

The SCHS culinary class completed culinary and Career and Technical Education projects to finish out the semester.

During the COVID-19 campus closure, SCHS students and teachers found new ways to learn and teach. Culinary Arts teacher Kathy Hopp came up with a way to let students cook virtually. According to Hopp, her students completed culinary and Career and Technical Education projects that do not involve cooking.

“With difficulty obtaining groceries and varied access to home kitchens, assigning cooking labs wasn’t a viable option,” Hopp said.

Hopp believes that both assignments will be valuable for students when they are able to reenter the workforce. Since the economy has taken a hit, some jobs may be more competitive than they were prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and shelter-in-place restrictions.

“I think it’s (the project) helpful for everyone in class because there’s a lot of students, especially in high school, who are looking for or planning on looking for jobs, but many of them don’t know the basics of it,” culinary student senior Ana Rey said. “So, I believe this will be helpful because it’s teaching all of us something about a very handy life skill that we will be using for years and years to come.”

Culinary student junior Symone Key missed cooking in class at school with her friends.

“I was able to talk to my friends, make delicious meals, and eat together like a family,” Key said. “I miss being able to talk about life and how we are as individuals. Culinary class allowed me to make new friends and express myself through cooking.”

While distance learning posed a particular challenge for the culinary classes due to the hands-on nature of the curriculum, Hopp supported SCUSD’s distancing measures.

“Although it may not be the best way to teach Culinary and to keep my students engaged, it (was) the best way to keep everyone safe,” Hopp said.

Many students felt disappointed they were unable to finish the class in person, but some have found a different perspective of the world and their own home life.

“During quarantine, I had to adjust to online school and not seeing people in person,” Key said. “It has caused me to learn more about myself and my family. I’m learning about life and the outside world now that I have the time to.”

According to multiple culinary students, the class has helped them understand how fortunate they are during the shelter-in-place. They believe completing the CTE projects was a stress-free alternative to cooking at home since they did not have to worry about getting required supplies and instead improved their food-handling skills.