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Food has a way of connecting people in an unusual way. Through similar tastes to unique cultural cuisine, food brings people together. Food also allows people to be innovative, and take pride in a creation they made, from creating a delectable dessert to a lean and healthy meal.

Mukwonago High School offers several opportunities for students to pursue their interest in cooking, including the Culinary Skills Club.

“[The main goal is] to give people potential opportunities in careers in operating in food,” Renee Maney, the CSC advisor, said.

The club cooks in the Culinary Olympics, held at Wwukesha County Technical College, each year, and cooks for school activities such as staff dinners. CSC also takes advantage of various catering chances that arise.

While the food may be of professional quality, taste is not the only thing that matters in cooking. Plating and appearance matter just as much.

Maney received about $500 from the Mukwonago Education Foundation to buy new chef coats and other apparel needed. Each chef coat costs on average $20 to $30.

Before she bought new chef coats, the CSC only had about 12, and there are approximately 60 students in the club. The number of students who must settle for wearing a clean, nice white shirt while cooking has now been reduced to around 35 without jackets.

The old chef coats were quite old, and read “co-op cuisine” on the front, an inaccurate statement for students who did not participate in the co-op program.

“They [the coats] show professionalism,” Maney stated. “It forces a person to stay clean, it looks cleaner, and it makes you stand out.”

Without the help of the Mukwonago Education Foundation, Maney would have attempted to earn the money through bake sales. However, the school limits the amount of bake sales in the lunchroom due to stricter rules enforced by the Department of Public Instruction, which would’ve made buying new chef coats more difficult.

Maney would like to buy more equipment for her classrooms in the future to give students the opportunity to make ethnic dishes. New equipment would enable students to learn a different skill and method of cooking, rather than adjusting what they already know to fit the desired dish. She is also looking to add catering equipment such as cupcake tiers and baking pans.

With the already outstanding food the club prepares, and the new chef coats worn by more students, the CSC is making a lasting impression in the school and community.

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