Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Granbury High School culinary students cook up creativity and confidence


The Granbury High School culinary students are getting a taste of real life through their culinary classes.

The Career and Technical Education program at GHS offers four different culinary classes from the freshman to senior level.

The restaurant management class teaches students how a restaurant is run and what it takes to make one run. Sophomores take intro to culinary, which focuses on food safety and learning about kitchen equipment and the different food categories. This class also gives students their first chance at being in a kitchen with around five labs throughout the year. Culinary I is for juniors and takes place in the kitchen all year; students focus on recipes then work toward creating food. Seniors take practicum of culinary where they are able to run “The Galley,” a student-run restaurant inside the CTE building at GHS.

The Galley has been operating for  seven years now and serves the public on occasion as well as the staff of GHS.

The restaurant gives students real world experience running a restaurant through hands-on learning and hospitality. The students plan a menu, plan for shopping, look at recipe analysis and costs as well as recipe conversions.

When the restaurant is open to the public, the students run the kitchen for the entire day and are excused from classes. The Galley hopes to serve the public every other week when students come back from Christmas break.

“This creates a really great experience for students to have that leadership experience and have some confidence,” Culinary I teacher Alyssa Hansen said. “They get to come in and create really cool things and when they share their food with people their eyes light up. It’s really fun to get to watch that happen and that confidence build in these kids.”

In previous years the students have served creamy potato soup, Cajun chicken alfredo, Chinese barbecue pork, teriyaki chicken, calzones and much more.

“We try to do as many things as we can from scratch just so the kids get as much experience as possible,” Hansen said.

The Galley also has a full-service espresso bar, chai tea lattes, protein shakes, smoothies and lemonade.

The teachers of GHS can order drinks from their room and have drinks delivered directly to their door.

Hansen is in her third year teaching Culinary I at GHS. Hansen said she has always had a passion for food. When going into college, she knew she wanted to either run her own restaurant or be a teacher.

Hansen is originally from Oregon, and there you are required to have a master’s degree to become a teacher. She got her bachelor’s degree in psychology and was planning to get her master’s degree but then got married and chose not to.

Hampton and her husband had kids, and she was a stay-at-home mom but still had that passion for food. She turned her passion into a cooking blog and remodeled her kitchen and turned it into a miniature cooking school.

The couple then moved to Texas after they were ready for a change. After the move, Hansen noticed a culinary teacher job opening at GHS and eagerly applied.

“I just knew this is exactly where I was supposed to be and I knew it was going to be the best of both worlds to work with food and work with kids,” Hansen said. “It was my dream job, and I was going to do everything I could to get the job.”

Hansen says she feels she was gifted this job opportunity.

“I’m so happy every single day coming to work. I just feel like I can’t believe I get to do this every single day. As a teacher you wear so many hats. You’re a mentor, you’re a counselor, you help kids figure out what the future may look like.”

The students are also able to get out into the community and showcase their cooking skills because of how often they cater for events and groups around the town.

“Those kids get an opportunity to learn how to be hospitable and learn how to put all of these things into practice and be good hosts,” Hansen said.

Some students are working already in the food service industry — Hampton has eight students who currently work at the new Freddy’s restaurant off U.S. Highway 377.

“I went in (Freddy’s) on the first day and it was so amazing to see the students so equipped to be working there,” Hansen said. “They all just seemed very confident in knowing all the ins-and-outs of a commercial kitchen. I feel like they gained so much experience with hospitality and taking care of customers.”

When it comes to the future, Hansen noted the program is growing immensely, and she is excited to continue to grow students’ passion for the culinary industry.

“As we keep growing and getting more creative it just gets more rewarding,” Hansen added.

To keep up with The Galley restaurant and stay updated on its service days, follow the group on Facebook at The Galley at Granbury High School.