Cooking up a culinary career

Cullman City Schools offers Food, Wellness and Dietetics program

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Cullman City Schools students learn the culinary arts as part of the system’s Food, Wellness and Dietetics career tech program. (Photo courtesy of CCS)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Students who are hungry for a career as a chef or nutritionist in Cullman City Schools have a full menu of study options. The school system offers a food, wellness and dietetics program as part of its expansive career tech programs designed to prepare interested students for an eventual career in the culinary arts.

The program is designed to prepare students for a variety of jobs in and around the culinary field, including chef, pastry chef, sports nutritionist, dietitian, nutritionist, food journalist, food stylist, food photographer, food scientist and technologist, chemist and family and consumer sciences (FACS) education.

Family & Consumer Science, Food Innovation & Media and Food & Nutrition courses are offered within the Food, Wellness and Dietetics pathway at Cullman High School. Upon completion of the pathway, students have the opportunity to earn a ServSafe credential.  Students may also take additional FACS courses including Fashion and Parenting & Child Development. 

The Food Innovation and Media track provides opportunities for students to explore global food systems, examine trends in food processing and food innovations, research influences on purchasing behavior of consumers, develop and analyze recipes for new food products through experimental food labs, apply social media and digital design techniques, photographic styling applications, and journalism skills and explore career options within the food industry.

“Students learn the process of developing new food products for marketing or adapting traditional ones to meet specific nutrition and marketing needs, and to follow consumer trends while utilizing a variety of technology,” Cullman High Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Carin Rains explained.

The Food and Nutrition course provides opportunities for students to explore the impact of daily nutrition and wellness practices on long-term health and wellness, physical, social and psychological aspects of healthy nutrition and wellness choices  and selection and preparation of nutritious meals and snacks based on USDA guidelines. The course also studies safety, sanitation, storage and recycling processes and issues associated with nutrition and wellness, impacts of science and technology on nutrition and wellness issues and nutrition and wellness career paths.

“Former students from CHS have gone on to earn post-secondary degrees in culinary, dietetics, sports nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences education, fashion merchandising and interior design,” Rains said. “Some of these former students have started their own businesses, work as interior designers, have been employed by fashion houses in New York City, are pastry chefs, dieticians and sports nutritionists, while three of them are currently teachers in Cullman County.”

Students enrolled in career technical education courses can join a career and technical service organization, such as Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). FCCLA develops leadership abilities and expands students’ work-place readiness skills. Students are involved in local community service projects, compete in local culinary events sponsored by various Cullman farmers’ groups, serve at the Farm City Banquet, serve as Alabama State FCCLA Executive Council officers and compete in STAR Events at the state and national level.

Students from Cullman High School have earned top scores at the Alabama FCCLA State Conference and have gone on to win gold medals at the FCCLA National Conference in Anaheim California, Orlando, Florida, Nashville, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia.

Cullman City Schools students learn the culinary arts as part of the system’s Food, Wellness and Dietetics career tech program. (Photo courtesy of CCS)