HISD’s Nutrition Services culinary team is teaching students about baking and healthy eating through Nutrition Education Classes.
At the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, which has a culinary arts program, the classes are a collaboration between Dietitian Jennifer Lengyel and Gregory-Lincoln Culinary Arts Instructor Kelly Karavias.
The goal is to develop students’ interest in kitchen fundamentals while also letting them practice concepts learned in math and other subjects.
“You have to be able to calculate, convert, and determine how to make good portions out of your recipe,” explained Lengyel.
Students were delighted to have the culinary team in their classroom recently, to instruct them on how to prep, mix, and bake sweet potato muffins, a student favorite. As the smell of freshly baked sweet potato muffins permeated the halls, fellow students dropped by, hoping to get a warm muffin on their way to class.
According to Karavias, her students have become more independent when it comes to cooking, thanks in part to these classes. “Sometimes I have students come in and ask permission to pick produce from our garden and make themselves a salad,” said Karavias. “They even make their own vinaigrette.”
Student Niko Foreman cooks at home for her family because of what she has learned in class. “I usually cook my own breakfast and dinner,” she said. “My family gives me the thumbs-up when I cook.”
Chef Trainer Brittany Jones considers the nutrition classes a very important, and special, part of her job. “I love working with students,” she said. “They inspire me to develop healthy and delicious menus, and I love hearing their feedback on how to improve meals.”