Nottingham Students' Culinary Knowledge Grows in Cooking Club

     Published on 5/25/16   Tagged under:    District News    Nottingham High School   

Nottingham English teacher Jimmy Smith is an avid cook. Special Education teacher Justin Petranchuk was previously a cook at Wegmans for close to 20 years. With their love of food and knowledge of cooking, it was only natural that they create the school’s cooking club.
“We noticed that there aren't any options for students at Nottingham to take part in any type of culinary courses,” Mr. Smith explained. “So we discussed some of their food choices, and we figured that a weekly club that focused on technique, health, budget, and taste would be successful and fun.”
About 100 students have signed up, and each week, 20 students are selected from that list to take part in the activities. So far, the group has made grilled chicken salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, eggs four ways, cinnamon rolls, pretzels… they even baked 200 sugar cookies for middle school students to represent the club and show students one of the extracurricular activities they could take part in if they chose to attend Nottingham.
Students in the club joined to expand their cooking knowledge—each with a different goal in mind.
“I wanted to learn to make food for my boyfriend,” sophomore Maryan Hassan said. “Our lasagna was so good! The best thing I’ve learned is that you have to cook things exactly according to the directions or they can taste terrible!”
“You also have to be careful with how you crack the eggs,” sophomore Zeinab Sharif added. Nearby, a classmate tried a one-handed crack and grimaced as the egg hit the floor and broke.
“I joined because I thought it would be fun to learn to cook new things,” freshman Thomas Nguyen said. “I’d like to keep learning—especially how to make salads and lunch things. Those are meals I could make at home.”
“My cousin told me to join the cooking club so I could learn to cook better,” freshman Anis Muktar said. “I’m hoping to learn to make soups and stuff like that!”
Mr. Smith said that the club’s first year has been an overwhelming success—thanks to support from Principal Maynard, as well as donated cooking supplies and financial gifts from the community. As the cooking club continues, they hope to start a community garden where they can grow some of their own food. They are also seeking student feedback in hopes of making more dishes from other cultures to represent Nottingham’s diverse population.
Thank you to Mr. Smith and Mr. Petranchuk for leading such a fun and educational after school activity!