Panther Cafe gives students real-world experience

Kaitlin Watson, Staff Writer – Culinary arts students cooked for teachers at LHS [Lecanto High School] February 23, and served the food during teachers’ scheduled lunch times.

Suzanne Sheffield, the culinary arts program teacher, has always done this with her students.

“It is a part of the program. We do it weekly, but teachers do not show up as often as I would like,” said Sheffield.

The students decided on a menu of baked ziti. The cost for a meal, including a choice beverage and a dessert was $5.

“It was leftovers, which helped the students learn how to work with leftovers,” said Sheffield.

Several culinary arts students liked the idea of using baked ziti.

“I really enjoyed the effort that went into it,” senior Michael Fox said.

“It was very cost-effective and tasty,” senior Domenique Speach-Diallo said.

Domenique Speach-Diallo shows another culinary student the box of food for a teacher (Photo: Watson).

Domenique Speach-Diallo shows another culinary student the box of food for a teacher (Photo: Watson).

Some students would have preferred cooking something different.

“Although the baked ziti came out fantastic, I would have liked to have chosen taco salad or maybe taco bowls,” said Fox.

Teachers were impressed but had some critiques.

“The food could have been a bit hotter, but it tasted good,” English teacher Colby George said.

Students outside of culinary arts program like the idea of the students cooking for the teachers.

“It lets the culinary arts students practice for going into a big restaurant business and also lets the teachers not stress over having to make their own food for a day,” sophomore Callie Heeter said.

Students would like to also see them cook for others rather than just teachers.

“It would be nice to see them cook for people in our community such as the homeless people and homeless shelters,” said Heeter.