Memorial HS Culinary Students Earn Certification

Culinary Students Earn ServSafe Certification
Posted on 05/21/2024
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Students in the Culinary Arts program at Memorial High School are serving up their own recipe for success. Earlier this month, 16 students earned industry-based certifications by passing the ServSafe manager exam.

“It's a validation of their hard work, dedication, and the skills they've acquired throughout their culinary education,” says Chef Megan Tapia, Advanced Culinary Arts instructor at MHS. “This certification not only demonstrates their knowledge of food safety and sanitation but also opens doors to a wide range of career opportunities in the food service industry.”

MHS Senior Miguel Salas is one of the 16 to pass the exam, which shows he knows one of the most critical aspects of being successful in the food service industry. Achieving the certification gives him confidence as he considers a future in the kitchen.

“I know I have a possibility; be in restaurants, make food,” says Salas. “[Culinary class] made me want to learn more about how food works and that there is more to cooking than just making a mess in the kitchen.”  

He is not the only one contemplating how this certification will help him in the long-term. Christian Llerenas Cortes plans to build on what he’s learned in the culinary program.

“I am going to use this, [in case] I want to open my own restaurant. I’ve learned the temperatures for cooking. I thought you just turned [the oven] on and let it heat, but now I know different temperatures, the ‘danger zone,’ and everything,’ says Llerenas Cortes.

Josiah Galindo considers the knowledge he has gained by passing the test to be one of the most important things he has learned in the kitchen.

“I’ve learned how to keep things safe, to avoid sicknesses that could cause [a restaurant] to shut down,” says Galindo.

Earning the certification will not just impact their future after high school. For some of them, it had an immediate impact on the jobs they have right now.

I have students who currently work at restaurants, and when they showed their manager their ServSafe certification, have were offered a promotion the next day,” says Chef Tapia. “Even if a student does not want to be in the industry after graduation, it shows whoever looks at their resumes that they can work hard and dedicate themselves to something that can better their professional learning.”

For senior Jackelyn Partida, earning the certification is a sweet addition to her high school resume.

“Baking is the most fun; making cupcakes and decorating them,” says Partida. “It is fun, being able to make any food or recipe that you want to create. When you make the food, it is yours.”

When they are not studying for certifications or reading up on new recipes, these seniors collaborate with other classmates to cater meals, prepare specialty treats and serve meals for teachers and staff at Memorial High School.

It is a privilege to teach my students life-long skills. Cooking, baking, BBQing, and food safety are skills they can use wherever they go after they leave my classroom,” says Chef Tapia. “Food and cooking are a passion of mine. They bring communities together and I love being able to share that passion with my students.”