Thanks to a dedicated teacher and culinary professional, Armwood High School’s Culinary Program is thriving. Paul Shaffer, CTE Department Head and Culinary Arts Teacher has brought this program, which is now a ProStart Certified Program (awarded by both the Florida Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association), back to life.

This is demonstrated by both the enthusiasm of the culinary students and in the delectable treats that they produce.

Students from Armwood recently provided desserts for ECHO’s 11th Annual Kids Helping Kids Fashion Show. To say that the food was scrumptious and the students received rave reviews would be an understatement. Kristy Walton of Lithia said, “The food was amazing. I love seeing young chefs display their art. It was simply scrumptious.” Denise Scangarello of Valrico added, “They taste like professionally made desserts. They were beautifully displayed”

The desserts were provided as a part of the students community service, but they do offer catering through their Bistro.

Shaffer explained, “The Culinary Arts program at Armwood High School provides culinary and hospitality education designed to prepare students for the many positions in the hospitality industry. We have a state of the art culinary facility that gives students access to industry equipment similar to what they will be using when they enter the workforce.”

The student gain skills and knowledge in all aspects of the culinary and hospitality industry from food preparation to sanitation to equipment operation to front of the house customer service skills. “These real world skills are used in organizing and preparing culinary creations for the student run enterprise which consists of a 60 seat Bistro and a full service catering operation,” said Shaffer.

Students who complete the course of study can earn NRAEF (National Restaurant Association’s Educational Foundation) ProStart Industry Certification and the ServeSafe Industry Certification. Students also gain access to scholarships and articulation programs which allow them to earn up to 12 college credits.


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