Culinary Arts Program
The High Road School of Providence’s Culinary Arts Program began in 2009 for students interested in gaining exposure to the wide range of skills and tools associated with the culinary arts. An integral part of the program has been the establishment of the High Road Café, which provides students with hands-on experience in such areas as food preparation, customer service, cash register operation, and bussing services.
Now that both the program and the café have been established for several years, this arm of our Transition Services has proven to be a training ground for future chefs and restaurateurs. Supervised by Steve Hixon, the general manager of Hearth ‘n Kettle, a very popular local restaurant, our students benefit from Mr. Hixon’s direct instruction, as well as from the expertise provided by visiting local chefs and restaurant cooks. As students acquire a variety of culinary skills and knowledge of how to prepare many food dishes, they proceed through a well-paced three-tired program that includes: (1) school preparation; (2) supported internships; and (3) job placement. Additionally, the Culinary Arts Program offers Safe Serve certification, enabling participants to secure employment in restaurants in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Two students in particular, Robert and Jason, have contributed to and benefited immeasurably from the success of this program, and both are well on their way to future careers in the industry thanks to the support of Mr. Hixon and Mr. Rick. Read their essays below about how this experience has affected them, in their own words.
How Cooking Has Helped Me
by Rob Robello
My name is Robert Rebello and I participate in the High Road School Culinary Program. I am having the best time of my life. I have been cooking for a year and a half so far and it has been great. I like working in the kitchen with the cook staff, especially Big Rick. He is my mentor. He is always there to help me and teach me something new. This year I learned how to do the preparations for all the meals in the kitchen.
The Culinary Program has taught me how to be a hard worker. It sent me to two restaurants, the Hearth ‘n Kettle and Spumoni’s. I work at the Hearth ‘n Kettle on holidays, where I prepare salads and entrees in the kitchen. I can see myself working in other restaurants in the future. The reason I joined the Culinary Program was because I wanted to make delicious food for people and to be a successful chef someday. The Culinary Program is giving me the experience I will need to get into the Johnson and Wales culinary school after I graduate high school.
What Culinary Means to Me
Culinary has taught me a great deal. I learned how to prep cut safely and cook on a grill. Being a part of the Culinary Program has given me knowledge beyond cooking. It is a privilege I enjoy and have become a better person because of it.
I was able to go and work at actual restaurants. The names of them are Hearth ‘n Kettle and Spumoni’s. This real-life experience has helped me learn how to act in a kitchen cooking for the general public. I’ve managed to maintain positive behavior in a hectic atmosphere. Demonstrating a calm attitude is hard to do in stressful situations.
This year, the school has provided us with our own café in which I have learned to focus in another fast-paced environment. In the past, stress would cause me to act out inappropriately, by not focusing on my work and disrupting the class. Having the culinary experience has helped me learn to focus on my task no matter the situation. I am more able to listen to direction in culinary and as a result I am able to do better in a classroom environment. It has helped me to decide that this is what I want to be in my life. I plan on expanding my knowledge of the culinary profession, so that one day I will become head chef in a restaurant.
I would like to give a special thanks to Big Rick for all his help and support!