ES-M students share cooking tips

Savory smells drifted down the hallways of East Syracuse-Minoa High School last week, as culinary arts students prepared an early Thanksgiving dinner menu for interested staff members.

Over four days, kids enrolled in the two-year program showed off their skills by teaching quick tips to teachers, and cooking hearty, traditional recipes for turkey day.

"We came up with a basic Thanksgiving menu -- biscuits, turkey and some side dishes," said Gina Fassinger, culinary teacher. "And then we got recipes to match."

Recipes that some might find familiar having come from the ever-popular kitchen store Williams-Sonoma.

Fassinger said her students learned the ins and outs of each recipe, and by practicing the techniques, were able to build the confidence needed to instruct the visiting teachers who dropped in for advice.

"They learn more from teaching then from just doing," she said about the interactive project. "The kids love it."

The two-year culinary course, which is now in affiliation with ProStart, a program offered through the National Restaurant Association and designed to encourage careers in the foodservice industry, is offered to both juniors and seniors.

Fassinger, who was instrumental in bringing ProStart to the school, said the curriculum they follow incorporates work and after-school experience, and also offers college credit.

Senior Ally Barritar, who plans to continue her cooking education upon high school graduation, has nothing but positive feedback about the class.

"I love it," she said. "It's a great group and we learn a lot and it's just a really good program."

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