Cooking club gets students into the kitchen

Capitalizing on an increased interest in cooking during the pandemic, MacArthur teachers and staff try to engage students with the culinary arts.

Clubs serve as extracurricular opportunities for students to extend their participation.  While distance learning, club opportunities expanded.  Utilizing office hours, MacArthur staff members opened up clubs on anime, dancing, Kpop, film, and many more.  One new club that used the unique setting of distance learning to its advantage is the cooking club.

Sharing recipes and ideas is something that home cooks and professional chefs do continually.  Cookbooks, cooking blogs, and even the Food Network are popular today.  Living in quarantine has reinvigorated people’s interest in cooking, too, so the club was a natural choice.  

The club was advised by Mrs. Holly Kotler, Mrs. Cristina Barber, Mr. Johan Arana, and Mrs. Laurie Tristan and was open to all students.  The club met from 12:30 to 1:00 PM every Tuesday.  The advisers made this club because of their love of food, cooking, and baking.  They wanted to create a club that would draw in students with the same love for food as they have.  

For the first meeting, the club made avocado toast. Using avocado, grape or cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and, balsamic glaze, the recipe was modeled over Zoom and the participants created their own versions.  A week later, the club made Pad Thai followed by bread recipes, cookie dough, and many others.  

“It is amazing that our students are so willing to volunteer and showcase their special cooking skills! All recipes have been delicious!” said Tristan.

Cooking club helps students and other clubs connect and engage students with teachers during distance learning.  Clubs can also help students make friends and keep a more regular social life.  Without nutrition, lunch, and downtime on campus, it was difficult for students to have everyday conversations about shared interests.  That is where clubs stepped in!

For the cooking club, students played an active role in the recipes, too.  Students gave ideas to the club on what recipe they should make next.  Then, all the students had a couple of days to gather the ingredients before the next club meeting.

Eighth-grader Luanny Lopez said, “My favorite part about the cooking club is baking and making things that people will like.”

On their Google Classroom, students were allowed to showcase their creations for all members to see.  The photos extended the club’s reach and put the creativity of the members front and center.  As the club progressed, cooking club invited some guest chefs that were non-students to present recipes, too.