The School Newspaper of Vista Ridge High School

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The School Newspaper of Vista Ridge High School

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The School Newspaper of Vista Ridge High School

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What Happened To Culinary?

Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness pathway takes over Culinary I at Vista Ridge HS
Culinary disappeared without explanation, until now.

Culinary class has disappeared this year, and nobody knows why. First, what was Culinary?

“Culinary was a very unique class,” said senior Jacob Fowler. “We learned basic food safety by getting a food handlers license. We also learned how to cook and prepare certain foods.”

Basically, Culinary was what the name described. You learned food safety, cooking, baking, and you got a food handling certificate. All the foundation needed to go into a career in the kitchen.

“The only thing stopping me from taking the next level of culinary was that it was offered at another school and double blocked,” Fowler said. “I would have to center my whole schedule around taking that class. If the class was offered at Vista I probably would have taken it.” 

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Unfortunately, now he can’t. Luckily, Dr. Stacy Steele, the Dean of Instruction here at Vista, can answer what happened to Culinary class. 

“A couple of things that are important to note is that Culinary I is a part of a pathway program that prepares students to be ready for a commercial kitchen kinda situation,” said Dr. Steele. “That particular pathway requires facilities on a campus to teach those levels, to be like a full commercial grade kitchen with all the specialized equipment.”

For example, Rouse High School has an automotive program. They have a shop, the proper equipment, and a very specialized teacher. For Culinary, Vista only had the equipment to service one year of a typically 4 year program. 

“So if you wanted to be able to participate in the culinary program, It would be like the equivalent of going to Leander High School for their cosmetology program.” Dr. Steele said. “So it’s not that it’s gone per say, it’s now on the campus that has the equipment, and they are teaching the whole pathway there.”

Essentially, Culinary is gone because Vista couldn’t support the whole Culinary pathway. However, it’s not fully gone, now, we have Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness. 

“So they adjusted that level one Culinary to being a course that would have a level one and a level two that could be completed on a campus, that being Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness,” said Dr. Steele. “It’s all about health, it’s a really cool course that gives you similar experiences, but the focus isn’t necessarily on preparing you for the techniques and skills required to be trained as a chef. Your focus is more on, “What can I learn and use for my everyday life?” vs. “I want to become a chef.’ It isn’t quite as specialized.”

Within Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness, a student can learn about diet, health, wellness, but also learn how to cook and basic kitchen skills. The goal is to be able to walk out with some successes under your belt.

“And it is, like I said, a full pathway now. Before it wasn’t a pathway, you would take that one class and that was it, it was kind of a dead end.” Dr. Steele said. “Because unless you went to Cedar Park High School’s Culinary program, you aren’t going to finish that pathway. And because we changed it on our campus, you can now complete a pathway on our campus.” 

So, Culinary isn’t necessarily gone, it’s just changed a bit. Students can still get the cooking experience here at Vista, and if they want to commit to the full Culinary pathway, students can always take classes at Cedar Park High School.

Culinary I class making cookies on September 22, 2022.
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About the Contributor
Nick Chang, Staff Reporter
Nick Chang is a senior and is excited to be a part of News Media this year. This is his second year working with VRHS News Media. Nick is also a part of Vista’s Theater and an active member of Drama Club. Outside of school, Nick enjoys writing, reading, video games, and going hiking. Nick can't wait to share the school's stories with the world.

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