Students in Bonanza Junior/Senior High School’s culinary program took lessons learned over the past nine months and put them to real-world use last week by catering a 250-person dinner for the school’s end–of–the year honors and awards event.
Featured on the menu was a locally sourced pig purchased with grant money through OSU Extension’s Farm to School program. Ian Smith, owner of RV Que, a restaurant in Bonanza near the school, donated his expertise and smoked the pig for a couple of days prior to the event. The pork was then shredded as part of the dinner menu.
The students used the school’s culinary classroom to make macaroni salad, asparagus, fruit salad, and green salad to feed their classmates, friends, and families. Culinary students and FFA members were available to serve the food the evening of June 7 after spending two days prepping and cooking.
“Our students had a chance to cater a big event and it was a pretty cool opportunity for them,” said Bonanza High Principal Jordan Osborn. “It was great to partner with OSU Extension. This is an event we hope to continue.”
OSU Extension works with Bonanza Schools through the Farm to School program. OSU Extension educators guest teach once a month in the Bonanza High’s culinary classes, helping students earn their food handler certifications. About 70 students helped prepare and cook the food and 12 served during the event.
Janice Schooler, educational program assistant with OSU Extension, teaches Oregon Grown and chick hatch curriculum at Bonanza and other district elementary schools. She partnered with Jordan Rainwater, the school district’s Farm to School coordinator, to locally source the food.
Produce was harvested from Bonanza schools’ hydroponic grow towers. The pig was purchased from Parker’s Sunrise Ranch in Chiloquin, and the eggs used in the macaroni salad and brownies were purchased from Lost River Junior/Senior High School’s FFA and ag science program.
“The impressive part to me was how the students took ownership of the event,” Schooler said. “They did a great job and had fun as well.”
Bonanza’s culinary arts program is under the agriculture science CTE (career and technical education) pathway. The school, which hadn’t offered culinary arts for nearly 10 years, restarted the program three years ago through the efforts of ag science and Spanish teacher Marie Kinney. This was the first year it has offered the food industry and science class.
The school also has updated and remodeled its culinary classroom. There are now six cooking stations with new countertops, stainless steel sinks, and industry standard ovens and ranges. The sinks and countertops were purchased and installed in December using grants and private funding. Last year, the school district provided funds to purchase new ovens, microwaves and a refrigerator for the program.