Let’s Get Cooking!

Although the majority of people have seen the new library and the new cafeteria, most haven’t seen another new space right here on campus: the Culinary Arts room. Culinary Arts has been a class at Orcas Island Middle School for a long time, but is it back at the high school for the first time in many years. Paula Towne, teacher of this class, says that the room for Culinary Arts is one of the most beautiful spaces on the campus and thoroughly enjoys working in it.

Towne has many hopes for this class. “My goal is to get the students excited about cooking,” Towne says. She hopes that all of her students will continue to cook outside her classroom and learn to love the art of cooking. She also wants her students to go out into the world being able to cook their own meals. “It’s important to make your own food, not pre-packaged foods you buy on a shelf,” says Towne.

culinary arts pic

Students and Towne smile at their food / Photographer: Matia Schwartz

Besides having goals to achieve over the course of the class, Towne also thoroughly enjoys teaching students how to cook. “This class is really fun to teach because it’s not like a regular classroom,” says Towne. “There’s more freedom and less sitting in chairs all the time.” Upon being asked what she liked about the new space, she commented that she appreciated the food processors and loved being able to use sharp knives to cut through foods more easily.

Not only is this a positive, satisfying class for the teacher to teach, but extremely fun for the students to learn. Pupil Ella Nelson has been taking this course because she enjoys cooking, and she wants to learn through the school program to help her become even better at it. “I really want to look into making other things rather than just basic dishes,” says Nelson. Towne creates a diversity in her lesson plans, starting with fairly easy foods and then gradually moving towards the more difficult dishes. “The most challenging so far has probably been enchiladas because there were a lot of steps,” Nelson says. “It took the longest to make, but it tasted great in the end.”