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INDIANA: Food class serves up cooking skills

by NEDA KARIMI, Gazette Student News Reporter on April 12, 2013 11:00 AM

The Indiana Area Senior High School Family and Consumer Sciences program offers a variety of courses that provide lifelong skills for students.

Among these courses is Independent Foods, where students learn a variety of basic cooking skills to help them to be more independent after they graduate.

To offset recent budget restrictions, two Indiana teachers have found a creative new way to give students a valuable learning experience while also helping to raise funds for their department programs.

Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Genna Chilson and Life Skills Support teacher Lori Dadson have created Caf← 106, an in-house restaurant run by Dadson’s students.

The students are learning the skills needed to run a restaurant, preparing dishes, serving customers and handling the finances. The food is prepared in Chilson’s classroom, 106, hence the name Caf← 106.

Beginning in April, the students will be operating the restaurant three to four times throughout April and May. Next year, they hope to offer it every week.

English teacher Larry Nath said, “The food and the service were both excellent. I hope the Caf← is open more often next year.”

Each meal consists of an entr←e, a side and a desert. Soups and salads will almost always be on the menu. The caf← is open to all teachers and staff at a very reasonable cost during lunch periods. The teachers have to turn in what they’re ordering several days ahead of time — it’s kind of like getting a reservation at a restaurant.

Teachers and staff can give input on the meals and give suggestions for foods they’d like to see served in the future.

Caf← 106 is a creative way for the Family and Consumer Science Department to give students the experience of running an actual restaurant while also helping to bring in some much needed revenue.

The cooks are the students in Chilson’s Independent Foods Class.

These students have the opportunity to learn much more than most do in a regular cooking class.

As Chilson said, “They (the students) not only learn how to cook, but because they are running a restaurant, they learn how to manage money and deal with customers.”

Chilson and Dadson work together closely to make sure everything goes according to plan.

The teaching and the planning happens in Dadson’s classroom and the actual cooking and selling happens in Chilson’s classroom.

Caf← 106 is a great addition to the Family and Consumer Sciences course.

Dadson added, “The class gives students a real-life experience with both handling money and how to appropriately interact with customers.”

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