The Culinary Arts and the Beauty of Cooking


The cafe area; apart of the Culinary kitchens in F118. Photo by Massimo Ragonese.

Massimo Ragonese, Staff Writer

Within the State High CTC courses, there are a variety of topics and classes made to teach specific skills in order to build a foundation of knowledge. But, there is one that is apart from the rest; Culinary. 

The culinary course is designed to teach from the basics of cooking to the intricacies of the kitchen and its processes. Aside from the recommended grade, the culinary courses are made for all students within State High. Through Culinary 1 to 4, there are a variety of people, from a variety of backgrounds and skills. Whether someone has never picked up a knife or has already decided to go into a culinary career, the culinary course will have a place for them.

Based in room F118, the class is made of their cafe area, baking area (with their ovens and larger machinery), dish room, cooking stations, dry-food storage, and walk-in coolers. A marking period within the course involves preparing food for varieties of catering events or exercises, learning how to use new equipment, learning about new methods of cooking, and more. 

Chef Zach Lober is the teacher of Culinary Arts at State High. He tries to make sure that he is preparing his students for aspects of life, using the substance required in his class. 

“I think that there are a lot of transferable skills to come out of the kitchen, whether it be: cleanliness, sanitation, following written instructions, working in a team, being safe,” he said. 

Chef Lorber has been a chef for over 25 years and has seen the upsides and downsides of the kitchen. Growing up cooking for himself, Lorber developed his culinary skills through hands-on experience and repetition. Lorber used the kitchen to experiment and practice, developing his own style and love for cooking. Though Lorber was able to teach himself, there are many in the world who believe they’re incapable of learning how to cook.

“I think that there are people who don’t have the patience for [cooking] and, that is a usual problem I see with people that are new, is they just are not patient enough to develop the flavors in time,” Chef Lorber said, “But I don’t think someone can’t cook.” 

For many in the culinary courses, cooking is a passion. Culinary 4 Senior Justin Dutt has been in the course for many years and plans to pursue Culinary as a profession.

“It really is an art form; it requires practice and skill and a lot of learning experiences. When you make good food, it is beautiful,” Dutt said. 

Culinary introduces many cuisines and cultures, with the intent to give students something to look forward to and explore more in class and in their own time. With their variety of tools, including baking trays, filling molds, stand mixers, or even a chocolate temperer, there are many food types to be taught about/demonstrated in class.

Junior Holley Schafer has been using the skills taught to her in class to make the kitchen more accessible and fun.

“Lately I’ve been obsessed with Bon-bons. We made them last week and I ordered Bon-bon trays and have been making them nonstop at home,” Schafer said.

Even if someone doesn’t want to go into the field of Culinary, the program still has a place for them. Chef Zach Lorber is determined to teach everyone and make them “good human beings”. 

“We have students who might work in hospitality or whatever, but they’re going to have a solid foundation and that makes me happy,” Chef Lorber said. “I want them to go into the universe, be functional humans, do good things, and make the world a better place. Every student who leaves this class can care about their neighbors, family, or coworkers, more than they did when they walked into my class, I’ve succeeded as a teacher.”

The Culinary course encourages any student that is interested in the kitchen or who just needs a fun break in their schedule to come and join them.