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Schools Rule: Wilson Talent giving culinary students real world experience

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 10:26 PM EDT
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MASON, Mich. (WILX) - When you think of most high school classrooms, rows of desks, a chalkboard and books come to mind. For some Wilson Talent Center students, their classroom is a food truck.

Maya marsh doesn’t start off her day like a typical student does.

Marsh said, “It’s wonderful, working the food truck is just like working at a food truck as a job.” She starts her school day working and learning on a food truck.

“It’s giving me it’s giving me tons of life experience and if this happens to be a career that I do, working in a food truck, I’m already going to have this experience,” she said.

At the Wilson Talent Center, students like Maya learn their skilled trades almost entirely through hands on work. The center’s culinary arts and hospitality program teaches students their trade the best way they believe they can; With real life experience.

Baylee Pfiester is the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Instructor at Wilson Talent Center.

“We want to provide a realistic experience for them,” Pfiester said. “So, they do everything from the recipe research and development to customer service. They do the production of the food, they do money management, and it’s just trying to get them as real of a business experience as possible.”

“With the Talent Center I’m getting tons of hands on experience and I’m going to be able to put that on my resume,” Marsh said. “It’s going to give me a lot of skills I would need in the restaurant industry already so it’s going to put me one step ahead of anybody else if I were to apply to a job at a restaurant or something.”

And to get ahead of the game, students have the opportunity to earn high school credit, college credit and both state and national certifications during their training. The program also encourages positive team building skills, problem solving skills and overall professionalism.

As the only Michigan high school program to operate a food truck, the Wilson Center says they offer students something they can’t get anywhere else.

“It’s definitely an invaluable experience because they’re getting certifications that adults are paying to receive,” Pfiester said. “They’re going right into the industry getting their hands on real work experiences, its kind of right into nose to the grindstone.”

Some food for thought; Employment of chefs and head cooks is projected to grow 25% between now and 2030.

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