Lanphier Culinary Students Produce Local Restaurants

Lanphier Culinary Students Produce Local Restaurants

Lanphier student Nick Kirkwood said he's come a long way from his introductory foods course.

"I learned how to make a pancake, which I usually burned on the regular," Kirkwood said.

Teacher Chelsey Ziebler said there is a huge improvement from Foods I, where students learn the very basics like pancakes. By the time students get to Foods IV, they learn to cook lobster and are given challenges to get creative.

"They completely cook on their own every single day," Ziebler said. "We will play 'chopped' on a regular basis. I will give them four or five ingredients and tell them to make something and they will come up with amazing creative dishes."

Participation has skyrocketed with Lanphier grads opening restaurants in Illinois.

"American Harvest is a former Lanphier grad," Ziebler said. "A couple of other students have opened restaurants in Peoria, and suburbs of Chicago."

Ziebler said students immediately learn skills that can get them jobs even while in high school.

"They're not just learning to cook for themselves or their families," Ziebler said. "They're also leaving the class with a skill that they can go out and get a job with, so that's also extremely appealing."

She said most advanced students like Nick go professional.

"Pastry chef," Kirkwood said. "It's fun. I also have a sweet tooth. I like to cook cookies and muffins and cake."

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