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Brownwood Culinary Arts Students Pick Up Professional Insights from Local Restaurant Chefs

Article by: Sara Musgrove


“Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors—it’s how you combine them that sets you apart” (Wolfgang Puck). Brownwood High School (BHS) Culinary Arts and Advanced Culinary Arts students attended a field trip visiting The Hideout Golf & Resort and The Turtle Restaurant. Students in tenth through twelfth grade enjoyed a day with tactile field immersion in the culinary industry. “Students were able to have a ‘hands-on’ experience rather than just learning about commercial kitchens and chefs from books or videos,” said Elizabeth Ripley, the Culinary Arts teacher at the time. “They were able to converse with chefs and see the workplace as well as be exposed to an environment they might not be familiar with.” The Culinary Arts students have spent many hours studying the textbook and classroom aspects of the industry, working since the beginning of the year to raise funds and take a trip to a ‘sit-down’ restaurant with table service. “Many of my students have eaten fast-food, but not many of them have had a casual dining experience with table service,” Ripley said. “Chef Kevin at The Hideout gave the students a tour of the commercial kitchen, the garden, and answered their questions. Chef Kevin picked herbs and told students what they were and let them touch, smell, and even taste some of them. It was beneficial for the students to see the farm-to-table in action. After the tour, students were able to order off of the menu and have a casual dining experience—something many of us take for granted.”


Following the tour of the Hideout, the Culinary Arts students visited The Turtle Restaurant, where owner Mary Stanley allowed students to tour the facility and sample the sorbetto and gelato from the Gelateria. “Chef Mary spoke to the students about working in the industry and the many job prospects available to them,” Ripley said. “After we left, there were a handful of students who approached me and began asking questions about the steps to take in becoming employed. We had already practiced filling out applications and some already made resumes, but actually seeing a potential place of employment helped pushed them over the edge in wanting to get a summer job. It was wonderful that it worked out to where the students were able to visit two restaurants on the same day so that they were able to compare the kitchens, types of food served, and more.”


The trip offered students multiple opportunities to see real-world kitchens and to try new food, enhancing the classroom education provided through the year. “It is a very important part of the culinary program to be exposed to those who have worked in the industry so that students can make their own opinions and be able to ask questions,” Ripley said. “This has been something I wanted to do since I started three years ago, but was unable to due to COVID restrictions. Next year, the BHS Culinary program will be led by a new Culinary Arts Teacher and I hope this type of field trip will continue. This field trip, taking students out of the classroom and into the industry, has been the highlight of my year and I’m sure the students’ as well.” The BHS Culinary arts students saw not only working gardens, kitchens, and the gelateria, but the myriad possibilities available to them within a vital industry.


The Hideout Garden Tour

Above: BHS Culinary Arts students take a tour of the garden at the Hideout Golf Club & Resort.


The Turtle Restaurant Visit

Above: BHS Culinary students also visited The Turtle Restaurant and learned about slow food, gelato & sorbetto, grapes, wine, and gave them a delicious treat.


The Hideout Golf Club & Resort tour

Above: Chef Kevin from The Hideout Golf Club & Resort gave the BHS Culinary students a tour of the commercial kitchen and garden. He also fed the students and answered their questions.