Seaside High School’s culinary arts program is growing this year under the leadership of new full-time teacher Chelsea Archibald whose hiring was officially approved by the Seaside School District Board of Directors during its meeting Sept. 18.
Archibald will be teaching four courses each trimester to offer students more opportunities to study culinary arts. During the fall semester, her classes include Cooking For Real Life, Culinary Arts and Pro Culinary Arts, as well as a class for the ProStart Program to prepare students for cooking competitively in the spring.
Archibald began taking culinary arts classes and was part of a ProStart Program in her own high school. She was further educated at Le Cordon Bleu and worked at Hotel Monaco in Portland. For the past four years, she has been the pastry chef at the Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach — a job that’s allowed her to make some of her favorite dishes, like ice cream and sorbet.
When the position at the high school became available, “I was kind of ready for a change, so I thought I’d give it a shot,” she said, adding she’s worked with teenagers through her church’s youth group and enjoyed the experience.
She hopes to teach her students how a restaurant works so they are prepared if they decide to immediately look for a job in the hospitality industry, a thriving and vital part of the economy on the north coast.
“They can have that jump-start,” she said. “Coming from one of the main companies here, Martin North, they’re super excited to have one of their own in the classroom teaching and hopefully sending some kids their way.”
Last week, students from two of her culinary classes prepared and served dinner for about 800 people who were participating in the 29th Annual Three Course Challenge held at Camp Rilea on Saturday. The dinner was served the Friday evening before the event. Students calculated what quantities of products were necessary to expand the recipes to serve that number of people a dinner of spaghetti, salad, dinner rolls and cookies.
The culinary students also will be preparing dinner for the high school’s open house the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 3. Their menu was not yet set, Archibald said, adding they are focused on “one large catering gig at a time,” but they are planning to serve 300 to 400 attendees.
The school provides a budget of $10,000 for supplies for the culinary arts program. Once her students are appropriately trained, Archibald wants to find more fundraising opportunities, such as catering events, to bolster the budget.
This year, the program also benefited from a $3,500 donation from Buoy Beer Co., a monetary gift that also was approved at the school board’s September meeting. The brewery raised the funds during a tribute event in June in honor of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who passed away earlier that month. Buoy’s chef Eric Jenkins created a special Bourdain-influenced menu, with the proceeds earmarked for the high school. Jeff Roberts told the school board he was pleasantly shocked by the amount raised, but they “gladly accepted it.”
Part of the funds were used to buy new chef coats for the Pro Culinary team. The rest will go toward helping students get to competition and covering other general expenses for the program.
In future trimesters, Archibald may offer a different variety of classes, such as World Cooking or Cooking For a Job. She looks forward to sharing her passion for food with students, whether they are in the culinary arts program as a step toward a career or for an extracurricular opportunity.
“Everybody eats, so it’s not an industry that’s going to go away,” she said. “Food is so versatile. You can create new ways for the same old thing but executed differently. It’s always evolving.”
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