McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Now we’re cooking

Students are learning in a new culinary kitchen classroom at the Upper Campus, which finished construction at the end of the summer
The culinary kitchen has undergone construction and been remodeled for students to utilize this school year.

As hallways empty and first period gets underway, the first class enters the new culinary kitchen. Their minds are blown away.

The once wooden, crammed classroom has become a stainless steel masterpiece. Furnished with everything one could possibly need. From the paint color on the wall, room 248 has truly transformed. For some students this is their first time in this classroom. For the teachers and returning culinary students, it is a whole new experience.

With the old culinary kitchen being the school’s only classroom for Foods for so many years, MCHS was ready for a change. There are now about seven kitchen areas all complete with new state of the art utilities and materials to accommodate classes like Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry, and Warrior Chef. Double rack ovens are a new addition to the room, along with more storage and work space for the students.

Teaching culinary for over 2 decades, Upper Campus teacher, Melanie Kadlec experienced quite a change this year. Having a new classroom to teach in has forced her to adapt and change some of her teaching ways. While it may be much different then past years, she loves the remodel. 

 “I love the commercial kitchen we have,” said Kadlec. “It will give my students so much more of an opportunity to get real restaurant experience.”

The new countertops are her close second favorite. With more counter space, double rack ovens, modern sinks, and more, the room looks like it never did before. 

MCHS has been working for over a year to remodel this room.

 “We really started planning it at the beginning of last year, and it pretty much took all year,” stated Kadlec. 

Time was key in this construction to make sure everything was perfect and what the school wanted. The school began meeting with architects. The project really took off from there, Kadlec said. 

“One of my favorite things is the color-coded utensils for each kitchen,” shared Warrior Chef student, Julianna Fontentetta.

With a bigger kitchen, comes bigger opportunities. There are more options for classes like Warrior Chef. Bigger spaces means being able to cook bigger and better things within the culinary program. However, it will not just be the students benefiting from this.

“We could cater more events and cook on a larger quantity and even do some staff lunches,” Kadlec said. 

Another thing changing with the new classroom is the environment. Standards for students are higher along with expectations. Students must handle the room and materials with much care and caution. As this is the first year with the new room, the school wants to make it last. At the same time, more responsibilities are placed on the students to uphold their side and keep the kitchen clean and safe.

“Class is more strict now on how we treat it[the classroom],”stated Fontennta.

The opportunities seem to be endless with this new culinary classroom. The curriculum has been given a new start, and MCHS is not going to let it go to waste. With new precautions ahead for safety and maintaining the new room, and with the school year just beginning the new culinary classroom will begin to settle into the changes for the classes to come.

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Comments (2)

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    Donna (O'Hanlon) MillerSep 5, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    I am so sorry. I meant to also compliment Lily Adams for the amazing article she wrote. I truly enjoyed reading every paragraph. What a wonderful student she must be. She will have a wonderful future.

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    Donna (O'Hanlon) MillerSep 5, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    I am so excited for this. It is about time that it has begun. I am sure the students will love it and learn so very much.