At Lewis County High School in Weston, West Virginia, a group of students are taking the home economics class concept to the next level: a simulated catering workplace known as Blue Spoon Catering. Under the leadership of career program instructor Cyndi Wymer, Blue Spoon cooks for the school coffee shop, as well as sporting events, weddings, and other local functions. They’ve also catered for the Lewis County Board of Education as well as last year’s prom.
The simulated catering workspace at Lewis County High has had quite the impact on students, inspiring one sophomore to pursue a career in the culinary arts. David Johnson not only participates in Blue Spoon, but also visits upscale establishments and cooks for his family of 10 – 15 on Thanksgiving and Christmas. He also competed in a junior chef contest in March.
The simulated culinary program known as ProStart at LCHS is sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, which hopes to prepare students for careers in the industry. It is mainly targeted towards juniors and seniors in hopes that they will pursue culinary industry positions upon graduation.
Prostart is a national program, which operates at more than 1,800 schools across the country and enrolls over 130,000 students. The program lasts two years, and even sets up operations in Guam, the Pacific, and Europe.
The Blue Spoon Catering program invests the profits from its operations right back into the school’s account, providing funds for field trips, new equipment, lunches, and more. In 2017, a new convection and range oven were installed in the school kitchen. Students from the carpentry program at LCHS are also installing new cabinets, with the hope that they’ll be completed by the end of the year.
Wymer, who graduated from LCHS in 1980 and held jobs in the restaurant industry throughout high school and college, holds her students to a high standard. She also offers a baking and pastry class in addition to Blue Spoon. According to her, the students take the helm on most Blue Spoon operations, from designing the business logo to coming up with the name, and of course running the business itself.
Special thanks to Encore Catering for sharing this story with us.