Akron student create pop-up restaurants for teachers | wkyc.com

AKRON, Ohio — It’s minutes away from service. Culinary students are perfecting the prestation. As not one by 2 new restaurants are about to open at the Garfield Community Learning Center in Akron. Chicken wings, Philly Cheesesteaks, Buffalo Chicken Wraps, all have one ingredient in common. The passion of the students.

“I love cooking and I love being in the culinary environment, so being behind the scenes just amazes me,” explains Serenity Haslam, a sophomore at Garfield CLC.

Contemporary Cuisine is the class where each senior created their own restaurant concept, which means menu design, number of courses and pricing. Other students help prep the wide variety of meals for up to 25 guests.

“I like the diversity, being able to try and make different foods from different cultures, seeing how they taste and how difficult they are to make,” said sophomore Yousef Judeh.

“The kids love it,” stated Jennifer Morales, the Culinary Arts Instructor for the Garfield Culinary Arts Pathway.

Chef Morales leads the kitchen, offering guidance, but it is the student’s food on the plate.

“They know what their strengths are. They know what they like to cook,” said Morales.

And underneath the lunch orders, there are elements of science and math they are learning.

“Everything when it comes to baking is a strict science,” said Morales. “There’s no guesswork.”

Converting recipes to the chemical reactions that occur in cooking, it all becomes second nature to these budding chefs.

“My mixture is a little too runny, so I’m going to have to add a little more flour to thicken it up, or make a roux to thicken my sauce up,” said Jax Gills, a senior at Garfield CLC.

“You also have to worry about measurements. We have to worry about what ingredients we’re using to make sure they all mesh together wonderfully,” said Haslam.

“You need a specific type of temperature for the ingredients to combine together properly,” said Judeh.

“If you turn it too much, it turns into butter,” explained sophomore Malikai Gilmer about whipped cream. “If you turn it to less, it just turns into cream. So, you want to make sure it’s it turned the right way.”

The debut of “The Spot” and “Rileyah’s Fast Cuisine” was a success. Enjoying the same praise from the program’s supporters’ other restaurants received.

“Awesome. We have had amazing support from staff in the building staff downtown business partners have been coming out,” said Morales.

This was the first year for the pop-up restaurants. Chef Morales and the students are looking forward to next year. The Garfield Community Learning Center has plans to renovate the kitchen space to better handle the demands of the culinary arts program.