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October 7, 2013

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Teen Cuisine at MRH

students preparing food during "teen cuisine" Teen Cuisine is an after school program unique to the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District. Students from all grades of MRH High School can work in the cafeteria kitchen with Chef Robert Rusan, middle/high school working chef. They meet after school on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:15 to 5:00 p.m. Teen Cuisine is an extension of the healthy foods program.

Each school building at MRH has a theme special to their curriculum. School as an apprenticeship is the overarching theme at the high school. This program allows the students to explore their interests while interning in a career field that appeals to them.

Although students primarily learn cooking techniques, Rusan makes sure he dedicates numerous days strictly to cleaning fresh produce and meat. The group often times make trips to the school’s garden to gather their fruits, vegetables and herbs. They bring it back to the kitchen and learn proper cleaning strategies to ensure the food is safe for consumption.

“The sanitation portion of Teen Cuisine is imperative to understand. It is cross curriculum especially regarding health,” said Rusan.

Overall, Rusan is encouraging proper kitchen etiquette and guidelines in this after school program and teaching them what is required to run a kitchen and all of the responsibility that it entails. The goal of Teen Cuisine is to instill work ethic and to practice how to be responsible adults as the students journey into college or employment. In the end, students who participate in this activity are learning more about what they are eating.

Shonte Bass, tenth grade, shared her sentiments about participating in Teen Cuisine. “We work for two hours after school two days a week. This is my first year but it’s so much fun, I love it,” says Bass. “We learn so much with each different activity that we participate in. My favorite part is learning how to cook new things and learning all of the factors that go into running our cafeteria and the hard work it takes to prepare our food.”

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.