San Marcos High School students are now getting hands-on experience and learning the necessary skills required for a job in the food service industry, thanks to the January 23 launching of the Café Royale Culinary Program. There are currently 39 students in the program, which combines practical restaurant training and college credit with the opportunity for students to earn industry-relevant certification. Students who complete the courses will have what they need to pursue a wide variety of positions in the food service industry and the knowledge to continue a similar education track after graduation.
Courses include “Introduction to Foodservice” and “Principals of Baking,” which offer six units of credit through the Santa Barbara City College School of Culinary Arts, and “Café Royale,” which trains students for entry-level jobs. They can also obtain their ServSafe Food Handler certification and learn about the history of cuisine. There was a great deal of interest in the program during a recent registration period from a cross-section of students, so the high school is exploring the possibility of expanding it in the future.
The program is led by Chef Educator Donna Barker, who worked with Randy Bublitz, the chair of SBCC’s School of Culinary Arts, to develop career-relevant curriculum. Funding was a team effort between the San Marcos High School Royal Pride Foundation, the Santa Barbara Unified School District Nutritional Services Department, and SBCC. The Royal Pride Foundation received two grants, totaling $75,000, from the Orfalea Foundation and the California Department of Education. Additionally, several businesses have already provided generous donations to the program, including The Natural Café, il Fustino Oils & Vinegars, The Berry Man, Mission Linen, and Jordano’s Marketplace.