Culinary arts catering at North


Isabella Castillo

Pots and pans clang, there are voices in the air, the smell of food cooking is floating through the air and into the hallway. This is a typical day in the kitchen lab. Melissa Rushing, the five-year culinary teacher for North Garland, is sitting back and watching her students work. This miscellaneous group of teens have banded together and are preparing to cater for North’s theater program at their most recent play, Spongebob the Musical.  

Together, Rushings’ group of over 100 students will prepare and serve lunch and reception to the entire cast and crew of the musical.

“I was very excited when I found out that culinary was catering to us,” said Maeryn Mosher, a junior playing Mrs. Puff and Patchy the Pirate in the musical, “I am looking forward to eating lunch with my culinary and theater friends.”  

The cast and crew aren’t the only ones who are excited about this event; many of the students 

Rushing’s introductory classes have aspiring hopes of going into the culinary arts field. Ivan Garcia, a junior in her Intro to Culinary Arts class, is using this class as an opportunity to practice his skills. 

“I’m really excited because of the opportunity to learn how to cook and to put my cooking skills to the test for the musical at our school,” Garcia said. “I am very excited to cater [and] serve.” 

As the students are serving a large number of people, they have been putting in a large amount of preparation for the past few weeks. 

“We have looked at floor plans,” Garcia said. ”-[We have] developed how to set up our tables, and our serving stations; the menu – preparing it and knowing what recipes to use for different items.” 

Meanwhile, Rushing has been working quietly in the background collecting food supplies, working with different seating arrangements, and getting all her students ServSafe certified, a program everyone in culinary arts must complete that approves them to handle and work with food. 

 Now, Rushing says that the rest is left to the students. 

“This is not my gig,” Rushing said. “-I will lead, guide, and direct them by giving them recipes and directions and have game plans. I will have little staff meetings and plug people in where they need to be, [as well as] where they want to be [by giving] them an opportunity to sign up for things that they might be interested in. From there we’ll do a schedule. They start at 6 a.m. on Friday and it’s going to end around 7:30 p.m. It’s going to be a long day.” 

Rushing hopes that her students will be able to get more than just a culinary experience out of this event. 

“I hope that it would teach them that in life, planning is of utmost importance and you need to plan for the worst,” Rushing said. “That way, when the worst doesn’t happen, you are happy. But when the worst does happen then you’re prepared for it. It’s not a shock, it’s not a game-changer. Culinary is a lot like that. Making the recipe, and you know what you’re the end result is supposed to be and what the ingredients are in that recipe, and even if you follow things perfectly, it doesn’t always turn out how it’s supposed to. But, if you learn tricks along the way and how to make things go in the right direction, then you know what to do next time.” 

Rushing, through her classes, works to help her students prepare for the world and their life after high school. 

“It’s not just teaching you how to cook food,” Rushing said. “It’s teaching you how to live life to be an adult.”