Students learning a new way to cut an orange from the chef.

Mountainland Applied Technical College (MLATC) is offering several sessions of a two-week STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) cooking course for junior high-age kids this summer. The hands-on course is a memorable learning experience.

Anthony Huntington, the instructor of the cooking course, has been teaching culinary arts for 12 years and before that he managed and owned restaurants. Huntington was never really interested in science, but he did want to know how to make food taste good and that is how he learned the science in cooking. “The students are so great. I’m so impressed with how much they know already! They have a great attitude and they pay close attention in class,” said Huntington.

Each of the eight four-hour classes in the course has a different theme. Even the “Better Safe than Sorry – Pathogens and Bacteria” class involves some cooking. Huntington has found the kids want to dive in and get cooking more than anything. For the knife skills class he teaches classic French cuts for carrots, potatoes, onions. Once the vegetables are cut, they are used in Potatoes Au Gratin, French Fries, or Onion Rings. Huntington will even use leftover ingredients to make broth for recipes the class will try later.

“They learn how to hold, carry, and care for the knives. It’s a basic thing they’ve seen all their lives, but it’s always eye-opening to learn the proper way to use them. Each cut creates a certain texture, which can make or break a dish,” said Huntington.

The young students spend one class learning about herbs and spices and how they’re used in ethnic cuisine. Students are encouraged to share their experiences of eating different foods on trips to different countries or maybe even special family dishes they prepare at home. In the Ethnic Cuisine class, students make Vegetable Korma–a soup-like Indian dish. For the most part, the kids are willing to try eating the new foods they’re learning to make.

The most popular class in the course is always “How Sweet it is – Sucrose, Fructose and Glucose.” During the “sugar” class students make homemade caramel and crème brulee.

There are three sessions of Summer STEM Cooking left. Go to https://mlatc.edu/programs and look for Summer Stem Cooking to get your budding chef enrolled.

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