Students at Prince George Secondary School will have a chance to learn a variety of restaurant skills under the instruction of a red seal chef this fall.
On Tuesday, the School District 57 board of education approved a trio of new courses – prep cook, line cook and food service – which will be based in the school's cafeteria. Teacher and certified red seal chef Erick Vilegenthart developed and will be teaching the classes.
"These courses will help students develop practical life skills," Vilegenthart said.
Under his guidance, students in all three courses will work together to plan, prepare and present meals, host and promote events, and learn about kitchen management, he said. The goal is to give students a taste of what working in a busy restaurant is like, and give them useful experience that could lead to a job outside of school.
"I will be working to obtain my Food Safe level 2, so I can teach Food Safe level 1," Vilegenthart said. "Students will be able to obtain their Food Safe certification in the cafeteria."
Each semester of the program will include a tour of the College of New Caledonia culinary arts program, and Vilegenthart said he hopes to get the program recognized so that students' time counts towards their red seal certification hours.
The courses will be offered at the Grade 11 and Grade 12 level, and Vilegenthart said he hopes to have 18 to 20 students per class. In future years, he hopes to Grade 11 students return and take the course in Grade 12, providing leadership in the kitchen to the new students.
"The prep (cook) course has a focus on management," he added. "This is the opening crew for the restaurant."
Students will handle tasks ranging from planning menus to receiving orders and filling out invoices, he said.
The line cook students, "will do the majority of the food preparation and presentation," he said.
"(The food service students) will learn how to host, cater for events like the Spring Fling that just passed," he said.
The food service course will also include an element of event promotion and marketing, he said.
Throughout the program, students will create a "digital portfolio" of their work.
"It's going to be such a benefit to the curriculum for the students," trustee Betty Bekkering said.
Board vice-chairperson Shuirose Valimohamed said the program will be a great opportunity for students to roll up their sleeves and get involved.
"Kids love creating things with their hands," she said.