High school courses are meant to be taken to give a student an idea for a possible future career considered. For high school students, getting work done and having a good time are equally important. So, when students get into a class that is enjoyable and practical, that class will be popular.

Cafeteria training is a popular class at Riverside, which leads to the question, do that many people really want to become a chef? Or are there other contributing reasons?

Tony Crisafi with Culinary Arts student Tiana Brennen.

“Cooking is a great life skill to have, but I don’t feel like I’m going to pursue a career in cooking,” said Jaidasen Walker, a grade 12 student at Riverside Secondary.

Home Economics is another class in the culinary arts category, but it is mostly taken by grade 9 and 10 students as a survey course. The course differentiates from Cafeteria Training in a few ways.

“In Cafeteria training you actually get to work and get an actual working environment instead of just working in the kitchen,” said Mick Oravec, a grade 12 student at Riverside Secondary. Cafeteria Training gives students experience in creating products that are being sold to people; whereas, Home Economics provides more written information and is more academic.

Walker said her favourite part about the class is the teachers (Johnny Wong and Tony Crisafi) because having fun teachers makes the time more enjoyable.

Cafeteria Training gives students a break from regular academic classes and gives experience to those who learn easier by doing ‘hands-on’ activities themselves as opposed to learning theory alone.

Crisafi started Culinary School at the age of 19. He started his career as a chef working in hotels for 25 years. He later decided to make the switch to Riverside so he could have weekends and evenings off to allow more family time.