Eagle Valley students get started in cooking career
2 cups of flour2 tsp. of salt3 eggsA touch of oregano2 1/2 Tbs. of olive oilThese are the ingredients to make basic pasta dough and the materials used for a lesson in an Eagle Valley High School ProStart class.ProStart is a national two-year career-building program for high school students interested in culinary arts and restaurant management. ProStart programs are in more than 1,650 schools across the nation, with approximately 80,000 students. For the first time in five years, Eagle Valley High School is one of those 1,650 schools with a ProStart program.Kimberly Reale, the ProStart teacher, came to the school from Denver last year and began offering two cooking classes a day. She was also determined to reintroduce ProStart. This year Reale has four cooking classes per day.”Over 300 of the kids at Eagle Valley High School wanted to do foods,” said Reale. “The kitchens are full every period.”Reale’s cooking classes filter into the more intense ProStart program.”I started taking cooking and it just hit me – I want to do this for the rest of my life,” said Chelsea Mukelrath, a junior, who is now in the ProStart program. “I want to be a pastry chef and own my own business.”If Mukelrath graduates from the ProStart program she will be well on her way to her pastry-chef dreams.”It is a hands-on experience right now while they are in school. The students are starting their careers now,” said Reale. Not only do students learn from books, they cook in class with the help of Brandon Causey, a chef who has worked in the industry for 20 years. The students also must complete 400 hours working in qualified food service operations with industry professionals. Students put their skills to the ultimate test in state and national ProStart competitions in which they must create their own menus, price the ingredients and create the dishes.Reale said Johnson & Wales University, a culinary arts college with a Denver campus, accepts most students who graduate from the ProStart program.”ProStart opens up a lot of doors for the kids,” said Reale.Wade Wise, a senior, couldn’t agree more.”If it wasn’t for Ms. Reale starting this class at EVHS, I don’t know where I would be,” said Wise. Wise said he was lost before he began cooking and he was getting into trouble.”I just love this class. As long as I am in the kitchen I am fine. I am happy,” said Wise.
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