The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

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An Inside Look at the MIHS Culinary Arts Class

Emery+in+her+Culinary+Arts+Classroom.
Kai Parker
Emery in her Culinary Arts Classroom.

During the 2022-2023 school year, MIHS teacher and alumna Lori Emery brought the culinary aspect of a long-lost class, Home Economics, back from the past. After 25 years, Culinary Arts was introduced into the MIHS curriculum, and last year, the first students made their way into the brand new kitchen in Room 415 to learn about the ins and outs of the culinary world.

Emery described her reasoning for bringing back the class, “My Family Consumer Science teacher when I was here was a huge inspiration,” Emery said. “Her name was Marlene Liranzo. She was such a huge mentor to me, not only when I was in school here; [she] has continued to be since I’ve been working here.”

Liranzo heavily influenced Emery and her procedures in class. “I want to continue her legacy a little bit more, make it a little bit like the way I would do it, but also still honor her, which is why the main teacher kitchen is named after her,” Emery said.

She faced some noticeable challenges at the beginning. “Would we have the ability to support what the cost of the construction would be?” Emery said. “Would students be interested in taking the course? And how do we drum up enough interest so that kids actually take the course?”

The first few years have proved to be slow since many students were unaware of the new program when it began. “We’re still only in year two so we’re trying to get students to know about it,” Emery said. “A big one is just word of mouth as we try to get things in the catalog. Maybe stuff like hosting certain events would help as well, but we’re working on it.”

She enjoys many diverse aspects of the class. “My favorite part of the class is seeing when my kids get a rhythm to how they work with their kitchen-mates,” Emery said. “Who does what? Who gets what? And how do we manage all that and get done with the amount of class time we have? Eventually, in a couple of labs, all the kitchen[mate]s have figured out what their rhythm is, what their system is, etc.” 

It has also impacted her views on the culinary world. “It has given me so much more respect for people who are in the industry, for restaurant managers, for chefs or anyone who has to manage the whole kitchen from start to finish. It’s so many extra hours, so much time on your feet and a lot of grocery shopping.”

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