By Katrina England
Reporter, Hart Co. News-Herald
Jason Lindsey is in his third year of teaching culinary and hospitality studies at Caverna High School.
The program has grown considerably under his direction, with students learning food safety, service management, and hospitality training.
Outside of catering for school events, Lindsey is focusing on culinary lesson plans and the curriculum, so that he can best serve students at Caverna with his expertise.
“I teach a dual pathway for culinary arts and hospitality studies,” said Lindsey. “We’re starting the beginning stages of working with SKYCTC’s Culinary Arts program, introducing dual credit classes for students wanting to do these pathways. So we’re working on that and expanding on that.”
The Culinary Arts program through the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) is designed to prepare students for careers in the culinary arts, food and beverage management, restaurant management, catering, institutional food service, and as professional chefs. The dual pathway option will allow students to complete some of their studies while still in high school.
Another exciting endeavor is that the educational kitchen at Caverna High School will receive a major overhaul. With renovations projected to begin over the summer, Lindsey hopes the commercial kitchen will open more doors for dual credit opportunities.
“They’re going to come in and put in a professional kitchen,” said Lindsey. “They’re going to get everything to make it look as much like a realistic working kitchen as possible, with the equipment, and also revamp our classroom section to make it convertible as a dining room for meetings, luncheons, dinners, which will really open doors for our abilities to do things outside of school hours.”
Lindsey is in the process of fine-tuning the curriculum so that it’s aligned as closely as possible with the curriculum at SKYCTC, while also fulfilling requirements for the Kentucky Department of Education.
“I want to get these kids a foundation and help them grow,” said Lindsey. “As of right now, they can complete both of my pathways within two years of high school, and be career ready at the end of that second year.”
Currently, the culinary department caters the Board of Education Christmas dinners and assists the band with food and beverage needs for their events.
“We have done some community outreach, working with some girl scout troops,” said Lindsey. “One of the things we want to do once we get our kitchen remodeled is to start offering Youth Summer Camps like a Chef Camp for certain age ranges. We started a pilot program with that last year. We did two weeks, which included one week with cooking savory foods and the next week was baking a pastry.”
Lindsey offers themes for weekly studies, such as Seafood Week, Poultry Week, Pork Week, Beef Week, Cake Week, Pie & Tarts Week, Breakfast Week, Starch Week, Vegetable Week, Fruit Week, Soup Week, and Mother Sauce Week.
“I am so very proud of Mr. Lindsey and our culinary program at Caverna,” said Board Chairman Wayne Hatcher. “I remember years ago attending regional board meetings hosted by larger county districts and seeing some of them having their culinary students being highlighted. This program offers another special opportunity for our students who otherwise would have missed out. This program will be life-changing for our students who are participating!”
Keep an eye out for big things happening in Caverna’s kitchen. They are cooking up great things for the future.