Melissa Conn supervises as her fellow cooking students pound dough that will soon become tortilla chips.
Jessica Gray, 16, (left) and Celena Germany, 17, make tortilla chips as they prepare for a restaurant opening at Harlem High School.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
The 17-year-old and other students in Harlem High School's ProStart culinary program are making the Mexican chips in preparation for opening their own restaurant Friday.
"Preparing for the opening hasn't been that hard," said Melissa, who will be the executive chef for Bone Appetite, the name of the restaurant at Harlem High. "I'm a little nervous about how the restaurant will go, but the cleanup is going to be the hard part."
Harlem High Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Barbara Howard said her students will act as managers, cooks and servers.
"This is a great way for them to get real-world experience," she said. "Some of them may want to go on and open their own restaurant some day. Many of them will certainly work in the restaurant industry."
Howard wants to open Bone Appetite once a week, with each week showcasing a different cuisine. Friday's menu features Hispanic foods.
Menu items include cheesy quesadillas, chicken enchiladas and taco salad. Invitations to Friday's grand opening were sent a week ago, but adults shouldn't expect a free meal.
"Only students will get to eat for free," Howard said. "Part of the real-world experience is charging the customers."
Howard and her young chefs recently won a bronze medal at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America National Leadership Meeting in Chicago.
Sarah Thomas and Desirae Rusch, both 16, make nachos as they prepare for the opening of a restaurant at Harlem High School
Photo by Donnie Fetter
That honor, along with the restaurant opening, has garnered the Harlem culinary program national media attention.
"A reporter from Southern Living magazine will be with us all day on Friday," Howard said. "She'll see what we can do from beginning to end."
To help make the restaurant as authentic as possible, Howard enlisted the help of Harlem High's Spanish class. The foreign-language students will handle decorations, proofread menus and enhance the ambiance of the dining area.
"When Ms. Howard approached me with this I thought it was a great idea," Harlem High Spanish language teacher Becky Weimar said. "Not only does it give her students practical experience, but mine as well."
The restaurant hours are 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Anyone invited to dine at Bone Appetite should R.S.V.P. by today.
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