Soup’s On

Culinary Class Makes Taco Soup


Photo by Megan Novak

Emily Ledesma, 11, prepares food at the culinary camp in the summer.

Sembree Yeary, Staff Writer

Before the stream of students begins entering the class, Ms. Chianese finishes passing out chef’s hats across tables. She displays the project on the projector: “LAB TODAY!” When the bell rings students trickle in one by one to find their group and hats.

“In two minutes you all need to have done these things,” she said while motioning to the board. “A recipe is being passed around and you all need one.”

Ms. Chianese spends time going over the ingredients and recipe of the taco soup, carefully.  

Each student jumped out of their chair and went to their simple kitchen and grab their utensils and begin the project. The groups stood in their designated areas, white fabric hats aligned as they read the recipe cards to begin their project. 

A representative from each kitchenette went to the front of the food lab to retrieve the ground beef distributed by Ms. Chianese to bring back to their group, as the other members make preparations of the remaining ingredients. 

As groups begin to place their soups on the stove, the smell of taco seasoning surrounds the room. Over the sound of pans sizzling, students discuss the next step in the recipe with their group members. They divide up tasks to complete the lab; students stir the soup over the stove while others measure ingredients to add to the pot. 

“Can you pass me that ingredient,” one student says.

Across the room, students approach Ms. Chianese roams from group to group as she offers assistance in the process. As the end of the project nears, groups move across the kitchen space trying to complete the tasks at hand and adding the finishing ingredients. 

“You guys want your soup at a simmer,” Ms. Chianese announced. “Just a little above medium is perfect for this.”

As the groups conclude their projects with their finished product, students clean their cooking utensils and store them away in the kitchen space. Students return to their table with the finished soup and have discussions with Ms. Chianese as they end the lab.