Aseltine School’s culinary program provides students with the skills they need to find employment in the community and to lead independent, self-sufficient lives – skills that prepare them for a brighter future both for themselves and their communities.
During the school year, students each quarter cook and serve breakfast and collect and track orders for staff and fellow students. The skills students master in the Breakfast Program give them a sense of accomplishment and purpose and offer opportunities for them to share their talents and help out at home by cooking meals for themselves and their families.
Summer school provides students with a special opportunity to continue mastering their culinary skills in the Summer Stars Culinary Program and to exhibit their many gifts and abilities. The Summer Stars Culinary Program gives students the chance to operate a work study summer café on-site and offers potentially life-changing opportunities for students to: 1) begin seeing the important connection between school and work; 2) improve social skills; and 3) build confidence – all while they gain valuable work experience. The program connects students’ academic, behavioral, and social skills development to real life experience.
In the 6-week program, students develop and research a café theme, decorate the café, design and create menus, inventory supplies, comparison shop, prepare and serve meals, clean up, and use math skills to balance the café’s budget.
The Culinary Arts Program has resulted in successful careers, with students finding employment in local cafés, restaurants, and bakeries. Others have enrolled in culinary arts programs at local junior colleges and the JobCorps’ Culinary Arts Program to great success. These undertakings help young people overcome their feelings of hopelessness to become confident and successful members of the San Diego community, rather than relying on public assistance provided by tax-payer dollars.