ACE’s Culinary Arts Program is Really Cooking!
What started last year as a baking project for ACE Sonoma High School students continues to grow, thanks to the hard work of teacher Ami Lyons, his assistant Kelly Schulesser, and a generous grant from Speedway Children’s Charities to support health and nutrition programs in Sonoma County.
The ACE School team originally created the program to help teach Math and English skills to the students, an opportunity to provide them with the tools, experience, and knowledge to help them build not only a lifetime of health and proper nutrition, but potentially a career path after graduation.
ACE Sonoma High School senior Mike Healy would like to be a chef someday, and, like many of Mr. Ami’s students, he quickly noted that culinary arts has been his favorite class at ACE. “It has definitely made me more adventurous when it comes to food,” Mike said. For example, “I never liked eggplant, but earlier this year we made an eggplant dish, and I loved it.”
Mr. Ami’s class prepares and sells healthy, nutritious lunches for staff one day each week. Staff members donate a suggested amount for lunch (typically $5 or $6), and in return are able to enjoy delicious homemade meals that range from deli sandwiches and fresh salads, to cultural favorites such as Indian inspired aloo gobi, naan, and raita – even a new take on old-fashioned molasses cookies.
The proceeds from each week’s lunch sales have been enough to cover the cost of food and ingredients. In the past, some of this has been donated by local bakeries and farms, but the kitchen lacked equipment to expand the program. In fact, Mr. Ami, who bikes to work most days, had been bringing from home his own personal kitchen tools—like a nice set of knives—for the students to use.
Everyone at Anova, particularly Mr. Ami, are so grateful for a grant of $3,000 from Speedway Children’s Charities, which will be used to purchase a mixer, large frying pans, cutting boards, and, among other equipment, a new set of knives!
If you would like to support ACE Sonoma’s Culinary Arts program, please visit www.anovaeducation.org/donate or call us at (707) 527-7032.