Post Oak HS J-Term

Sandra Cook
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Houston's Post Oak High School seeks to provide unique opportunities for students to cultivate real-life experiences. The school's teaching methods nourish students' diverse interests, helping students identify personal passions and actively prepare for university and for life beyond school. For three weeks each January, Post Oak High School students participate in an intensive study program, called J-Term.

So when Post Oak High School teacher Benjamin Preston contacted Chef Justin Kouri, our Culinary Education Coordinator about doing a J-Term course with Recipe House, Chef Justin welcomed the idea and had a blast hosting the 16 high school students in a three-week course in the culinary arts. "My goal was to give the students a comprehensive view of the food industry," says Chef Justin. 

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In addition to teaching the students cooking methods, knife skills and preparation techniques, Chef Justin organized several fascinating field trips. "The first was a visit with Chef Jon Buchannan at his restaurant Trevisio in the Texas Medical Center," says Chef Justin. Here, the students toured the restaurant and kitchen and learned about the economics of food costs in the restaurant industry, including sourcing produce, meats, dry goods and formulating mark-ups in terms of market pricing and operating the business of a restaurant.

The next field trip was truly located in a field! Chef Justin took the students to Finca Tres Robles, the urban farm operated by Tommy Garcia-Pratts and his brother Daniel Garcia-Pratts. At the farm, Tommy taught the students about the costs of growing produce and how to price it at market. The students also ventured out to volunteer in the Recipe for Success classroom at Rodriguez Elementary and got to experience how elementary kids engage with our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™. 

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Back at RecipeHouse, the students developed their culinary chops. To hone their skills, Chef Justin broke the class into small groups and had each prepare and execute a three-course meal. The students' work was evaluated for quality and presentation.

Chef Justin explains he has years of experience working with professional chefs and has worked with elementary school aged kids for the past two years in Recipe for Success school programs and summer camps, but this was his opportunity to work with high schoolers. "It was exciting that the students were so motivated to take this course," says Chef Justin. "It was great to see their higher-level thought processes and more advanced responses to the lessons. I felt like I had my own creative team to collaborate with, so I found it very rewarding as well." 

Email Chef Justin about ongoing classes and custom classes for your group.

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