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DCSD’s Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management CTE Pathway program offers students a ‘competitive advantage’

Students are able to earn college credit through the course.
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:57 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The Davenport Community School District’s (DCSD) Culinary Arts and Restaurant management CTE Pathway program helps students to improve their culinary skills and learn more about the foodservice industry.

“This course really gives our students a competitive advantage,” said Jenee Cross, DCSD’s culinary arts instructor through ProStart. “It is about 50% culinary skills, 50% food service manager skills. The hands-on culinary work pairs well with the costing, communication, the skills that people would need to not only cook in the kitchen but actually run a restaurant and make a profit and turn it into a business.”

Students earn college credit through the course.

“A lot of our curriculum is the basic food prep program offered at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, but then when we go into competitions, and it’s really student-driven,” Cross said. “They take the basics that they build on and then really create it to their own personality, their own taste.”

Senior Isabelle Critten said the program helped her land a culinary job.

“We had to get a certification in ServSafe, which you need at least one person on every shift at a restaurant with a ServSafe certification, so it helped me get my job in the first place, and the way they found me was through ProStart,” Critten said. “We have all the background information on how to make certain things and also how to portion out, cost things out on a menu. We also learn about management, and how to work in the management part of restaurants.”

Cross said it is great to see her students become more confident within the kitchen.

“First, they are hesitant, ask a lot of questions, and then when they get into it, they can take off on their own,” Cross said. “I like when they add their own spin to it and then seeing the creativity when students take what you kind of gave them and then they take it into a whole different direction. It’s pretty awesome to see.”

Students have to be a junior or senior and take the basic foods classes in the DCSD high schools’ programs.

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