My kids have knives

Mrs. Farlee talking to students about what they were cooking.

Azucena Gama, Staff Reporter

Patti Farlee, the culinary arts teacher at RBHS, lives a unique existence within the building. While she teaches, her kids all have knives and her daily focus on teaching while practicing safety skills is a major drive for her.

Farlee has trouble sometimes narrowing down the strangest things she’s encountered in her classroom.

“Everyday it’s crazy. We’re working with fire and knives,” said Farlee.“We’ve had everything from stove fires to kids getting impaled.”

One year, a student impaled himself with a knife. He was turning to put the knife away and he bumped the counter. It required stitches, but it all worked out.

The culinary arts at RB is class taught by Patti Farlee, who has been teaching at RB for 12 years, since the 2006-2007 school year. She teaches Foods I, Foods II, and Advanced Foods.

The class is an elective so therefore it is not required to be taken, but she says, “I believe that the foods class should be a required class. It is a necessary skill that will be needed in the future.”

Many of today’s health problems are caused by unhealthy eating. If you are able to cook, you can set yourself for a healthy lifestyle in the future.

The students are taught basic safety skills before working with the materials to make sure everything is being used appropriately. Food safety is also always practiced in the classroom—making sure everything is cleaned and sanitized is a priority.

A handful of Farlee’s students have gone on to continue in their culinary career. They went into school for the culinary arts, continuing what they learned in high school and applying it to the real world. Past students come back to thank her sometimes and even teach their own lesson for the class.

The program is divided into three different classes: there are Foods I, Foods II, and Advanced Foods. Foods I is more of an introductory class. It teaches more nutrition and safety, but the students do get to cook in the kitchen at least two days a week. Foods II is more technique class and cultural class, teaching students ways to cook and cooking in other countries. Advanced Foods focuses on student choice. Students have the freedom to put menus together and choose what they get to cook and do in the class.

“Food in itself is a social thing. It can connect to family and to the past in a way words can’t,” Farlee said.