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Angelina Bajwa, a Grade 10 student at Enver Creek Secondary, is one of 18 students enrolled in a new Culinary, Baking and Meatcutting summer course being taught by teaching chef Mike Doyle.
While many students have left school behind for a couple of months, a group of about 18 teens at Enver Creek Secondary are spending half their summer not only cooking and eating, but earning course credits while they're at it.
The Culinary, Baking and Meatcutting trades exploration class is a new addition to the Surrey School District's summer school offerings. Taught by chef Mike Doyle, the program draws students from various Surrey secondary schools and is designed to introduce them to three apprenticeable trades in the hospitality industry.
There are about 18 students in Grades 8-12 enrolled, each for different reasons.
Tej Kaur (at right), who is going into Grade 11 at Fraser Heights Secondary, is interested in cooking, and also anticipates an academically heavy couple of years ahead.
"I wanted to take a summer school course to get something done early. This looked really intersting and it's been really good so far – I'm really enjoying it," she says. "It's a fun summer school course. It's not like science or math."
Each day Doyle demonstrates what's to be done that morning, and the teens get busy doing everything from deboning a chicken to preparing dough, dicing vegetables to whipping up a decadent chocolate mousse. And of course, eating their wares and ensuring the industrial kitchen is left as clean as they found it.
Angelina Bajwa, a Grade 10 student at Enver Creek Secondary is passionate about cooking and wants to pursue a career in the culinary field, so the new summer course is one she hopes kickstarts her future.
"It's not basic," she says of the advanced techniques taught. "We're introduced to new things."
That's Doyle's goal – to not only have students engaged and enjoying themselves, but expose them to new methods and skills, as well as teaching them where food comes from and how easy something like mayonnaise or salad dressing can be to make.
"It's cool for kids to see that with a few simple ingredients… 'I put it together – I can make it myself'," Doyle says.
He's also made a point of having students work with a different parnter each day.
"That way, they all get to know each other," he says. "And I explained that in the kitchen, you don't get to choose who you work with. Any job is like that."
As well as being treated to visits from guest chefs, students will go on a field trip to the Pacific Culinary School on Granville Island for a tour and meal.