Butler students’ explore culinary arts

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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The Butler County Career Academy is sharpening its cooking skills in the Hospitality and Tourism class in the Career Tech Education (CTE) department at Greenville High School (GHS). Students are exploring the culinary arts with the program’s teacher Amber Browder who said she loves teaching these classes. 

“My goal is to help teach these students how to be able to cook for themselves, and then introduce them to job opportunities that encompass the whole of hospitality and tourism,” Browder said. “I might have a student that wants to go into the food industry that does not want to be a chef but prefers to manage a restaurant or hotel, or they might be interested in working in marketing. It’s all under one big umbrella of hospitality and works together.”

The first level of the program is Hospitality and Tourism for one semester before students move on to Culinary One. The next year they begin Culinary Two, then Baking and Pastry and finally onto CTE Lab. 

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Browder said the CTE Lab students will spend the year planning their own restaurant and business, and added she wants them to have a full understanding of what they will realistically need to do to bring the vision into fruition. 

“My lab students are planning hypothetically, but as real as possible, opening their own business,” Browder said. “One student is creating a restaurant and my other student is doing a bakery. They will write a business plan including their concept, theme, the type of food they want to serve, etc. I plan on pulling in business owners from the community to evaluate their plans and talk with them about the details of actually opening their businesses.”

Jay Rogers, a senior from GHS in the program, dreams of opening her own bakery. 

“The class has been fun,” Rogers said. “I’m really into baking because me and my grandmother baked a lot together. I want to open my own bakery eventually. I want to go to Coastal Alabama Community College in Gulf Shores as they have a great culinary program, and then I’ll go from there finding an area I like, saving up and building my menu. This class has helped me learn new techniques I wouldn’t have learned on my own.”

Tanaysha Boyd, a senior from Georgiana in her third year of the program, said she wants to be a chef and plans on opening her own restaurant in either Greenville or Montgomery. 

Browder said she is excited for the CTE Expo that will happen in February at GHS. The Hospitality and Tourism program will transform the classroom into a functioning restaurant for attendees, with fully themed decor, menus and service. 

Rheta McClain, the CTE Director, said she wants the community to know that the Hospitality and Tourism class is open for partnerships throughout Butler County with any business under the same umbrella.

“We want to make sure our students are exposed to it and that they recognize the different opportunities for them within our community after completing that class,” McClain said. “We need more restaurants in our county and these ideas can spark from that class. They have an awesome teacher that exposes the students to all different kinds of things in that area.”