After school tutoring started at Von Steuben High School. There were a decent amount of math students and I started making the rounds. The program coordinator, SD, was busy making sure everyone was going to show up at the field trip to Kendall College that we had planned for today.
The last period of the day was over and all of the algebra kids showed up with homework, fretting over remembering what’s a domain and what’s a range! I have no idea how many times I said, “Remember, domain is possible x values and range is your possible y values.” The two other regular tutors couldn’t make it in so I was the only math tutor around! I was moving like a flash all over the classroom! Meanwhile, SD was still ensuring that everyone who RSVP’d yes was still going on the fieldtrip.
The checking of homework and signing of tutoring logs began. An overwhelming number of students showed up and we constantly had to announce that GEAR-UP was ending at 4:00, much to the students’ dismay! More students who were going on the fieldtrip started showing up, anxious to hit the road. The students pictured below have been in the GEAR-UP program since they were in 7th grade and currently attend different Chicago public schools including, Lane Tech, Northtown academy, Lakeview, and of course Von Steuben.
It was go time. I signed off on the last tutoring forms and we packed up our things to head on out! Our big yellow school bus was parked outside, ready to take us to Kendall College. I hadn’t ridden a school bus in at least 5+ years. I really wish I had taken some Dramamine!
We arrived at Kendall College and made our way to the front lobby where the programs director started telling us about the institution. He showed us some artifacts the school has collected over the years and I was awestruck by a chefs jacket signed by Julia Child!
We were taken on a tour of the school where we were shown their advising office, recreational area, classrooms, dining hall, and their different kitchens. Sugar, flour, chocolate, cinnamon, and flour filled the air on the pastries floor. As we toured, students in white coats zoomed on by moving trays all over the place.
We were led to a kitchen where we would be making our own tapas. We were given our uniforms: chefs hats and aprons. Chef Heidi then instructed us on some cooking basics including how to chop an onion, mince cilantro, zest a lemon, grate ginger, and slice bread. I am the self-proclaimed worst cook ever, I’ve managed to ruin white rice and countless other meals. I really took this as an opportunity to learn some good techniques and think the other students did too. After our demos we were split up into groups, each with our assigned dish, and got to work!
The kitchen was chaos, each group had their own meal to execute with tons of steps to take!
I buddied up with my supervisor and another student, we split up the components and were done in a flash! Other groups were working hard too… I hadn’t realized just how much grated cheese went into all of these recipes… maybe that’s why everyone had such cheesy smiles!
The boys were my favorite cooking team, they’ve all known each other since elementary school(they’re seniors now) and were working so intensely on getting their tapas just right.
Chef Heidi told them their food looked perfect… although they knew that something just wasn’t right… see for yourself…
Everyone finished preparing their meals and the last few items were being taken off of the stove and out of the oven. The final menu consisted of:
Honey Walnut Pesto and Pear Pizza
Turkey Meatballs with Coconut-Mint Chutney
Porcini Mushroom and Fontina Puff Pastry Tartlets
Crositini of Goat Cheese with Olive Cranberry and Pecan Tapenade
We enjoyed our food to the max. Everything came out delicious, even the unsightly Porcini Mushroom and Fontina Puff Pastry Tartlets tasted really great!
We cleaned up our things, thanked the staff and packed up some of our wonderful creations!
We thanked Kendall College for their great hospitality and hit the road.
Back at Von Steuben the students dispersed after a hard day’s work.
Today was a long day. I think that this college visit/cooking class was a great opportunity for everyone! The majority of the students that participated are graduating high school this year and living on their own for the first time this coming fall. Knowledge of how to cook is vital. I definitely need to step up my own skills in the cooking department. When the class was over Chef Heidi asked what the best lesson of the day was and the students as well as the supervisor, SD, agreed that the proper technique for cutting an onion was the most useful bit of knowledge they gained. I don’t know when I’ll make Crostini of Goat Cheese with Olive Cranberry and Pecan Tapenade again, but at least I know that I have the ability to be proficient in cooking!
This field trip embodied what GEAR-UP is all about, it’s preparing students for life after high school. These types of outings are wonderful since they involve teamwork and working together to reach a common goal, in this case an amazing tapas menu!
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