The Blue Apron Prepares Students For Future Culinary Careers

October 11, 2023 at 5:33 p.m.
Lori Owens (L) and Tia Brown (R) enjoy lunch on the last day of the soft opening Wednesday of the Blue Apron at the Warsaw Area Career Center this school year. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union
Lori Owens (L) and Tia Brown (R) enjoy lunch on the last day of the soft opening Wednesday of the Blue Apron at the Warsaw Area Career Center this school year. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union

By JACKIE GORSKI Lifestyles Editor

Students at The Blue Apron aren’t just learning culinary skills for potential careers, they’re learning life skills.
The Blue Apron is part of the culinary pathway at the Warsaw Area Career Center (WACC) and, before students can work at the Blue Apron, they have to take a semester in nutrition and wellness and principles of culinary art, said Ben Barkey, WACC principal and director. The next year “they can be here in the Blue Apron restaurant” and it’s a three-period block where they get dual credit with Ivy Tech credit.
Barkey said the Blue Apron has been around for at least 10 years. He said it is a model in the state. There are some student-run restaurants, but Blue Apron does everything from scratch and fine dining culinary arts.
The Blue Apron will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting Oct. 24 through April.
Barkey said people can make reservations, and catering events or parties can be made on Fridays.
He said the revenue generated from the Blue Apron goes right back into the program. This year, an industrial smoker was bought, he said.
Mark Bragg, chef instructor, said the Blue Apron is three periods a day for two years.
Between the start of the school year and the restaurant’s soft opening, which ended Wednesday, the new students are taught how to run a restaurant, Barkey said.
Students learn everything about running a restaurant, including budgeting, keeping a profit and loss statement and preparing the food, Bragg said. There are five stations in the restaurant that students rotate in and learn. There is the bake shop, front of house, chef line, family meal and the salad station. Between all that, all the students have to take turns washing dishes.
Bragg said there are 22 students in the restaurant this year. Last year, there were 29.
During the principles of culinary arts class, students learn safety and sanitation. They also learn basic theory and skills before going to the Blue Apron.
During the first year with Bragg, students take three dual credit classes: Introduction to Baking, Nutrition and Soups, Stocks and Sauces.
“So not only are we running the restaurant, we’re concentrating on those core areas,” Bragg said.
The state added a capstone class, and it was decided to do breakfast and pantry, which focuses on short-order cooking, preparing salads and all kinds of breakfast cookery. Human resources is also added into that capstone, so students learn how to hire, interview and onboard staff.
With the restaurant open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, students are doing classwork the rest of the week.
There was a soft opening this week and last week, Bragg said. Before the soft opening, the majority of his students have never learned how to serve, so they needed to learn how to do that. Also, the students come up with the menu and they have to learn how cook and price the menu, as well as make sure everyone knows how to do things.
Bragg said their menu doesn’t look all that big, but there are 12 to 14 things on the menu, so there’s at least a month worth of learning that goes into that.
On top of that, students are learning curriculum as well.
Barkey said hopefully students continue on the culinary arts pathway and become chefs or work in a restaurant because the “hospitality career in our community needs our students.” Barkey’s hope is students continue to technical school for culinary arts.
Even if a student doesn’t go into the culinary arts after high school, they still learn how to cook, which is a life skill, Barkey said.
Bragg said the Blue Apron is all about work-based learning and soft skills, so anything students learn at the Blue Apron, they can take into any other job.
“Not necessarily into the culinary. I’d love to see them go into the culinary field, but it’s not just about culinary. It’s like, can I be organized? Can I set a goal for myself? Can I be on time to work? Can I be professional at work? Can I write a memo? Can I do an email thread? Anything that has to do with any other work, they learn all that, too,” Bragg said.
Bragg said hopefully students can take the dual credits they’ve learned and go on to Ivy Tech. If not, hopefully students go into a career field and jump right in.
Senior Josh Rensberger said this is his second year in the Blue Apron. When he was younger, he said he really liked making people happy with food, so he started with the hospitality class and worked his way up to the restaurant.
“And so far this year, I’ve enjoyed my time here being able to make people smile, make people happy with food,” he said.
He said some of the things he’s learned is going into a dining room, serve people, take people’s orders and generally make people happy, being able to listen and work in teams.
Some of the benefits he sees is students can take all the skills they learn and use it in a restaurant or even a store because students learn how to keep food safe and run cash registers.
Rensberger said after high school, he is hoping to go to Baker College in Michigan. He said he feels prepared for the next step as he has received the foundational work all ready.
Senior Talia Kelley said this is her second year with the Blue Apron as well. She said over the COVID-19 pandemic, she got into baking and decided that’s what she wanted to do further on in her future.
Kelley said she has learned a lot of things. Students have to take a food safety certification test, which teaches students which temperatures certain foods have to be cooked at and how far off the ground food needs to be stored.
Before getting to the Blue Apron, she said didn’t know how to make a crepe and she learned to do that. She has also learned how to make different types of eggs.
She hopes to go to a culinary school. She hopes by being in the program, it will be easier to get into a program and possibly a scholarship.
She thinks the program has taught her a lot. She also works at Salvatori’s, so being in the Blue Apron helps her take the skills she learned there and apply them to her work at Salvatori’s.

Students at The Blue Apron aren’t just learning culinary skills for potential careers, they’re learning life skills.
The Blue Apron is part of the culinary pathway at the Warsaw Area Career Center (WACC) and, before students can work at the Blue Apron, they have to take a semester in nutrition and wellness and principles of culinary art, said Ben Barkey, WACC principal and director. The next year “they can be here in the Blue Apron restaurant” and it’s a three-period block where they get dual credit with Ivy Tech credit.
Barkey said the Blue Apron has been around for at least 10 years. He said it is a model in the state. There are some student-run restaurants, but Blue Apron does everything from scratch and fine dining culinary arts.
The Blue Apron will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting Oct. 24 through April.
Barkey said people can make reservations, and catering events or parties can be made on Fridays.
He said the revenue generated from the Blue Apron goes right back into the program. This year, an industrial smoker was bought, he said.
Mark Bragg, chef instructor, said the Blue Apron is three periods a day for two years.
Between the start of the school year and the restaurant’s soft opening, which ended Wednesday, the new students are taught how to run a restaurant, Barkey said.
Students learn everything about running a restaurant, including budgeting, keeping a profit and loss statement and preparing the food, Bragg said. There are five stations in the restaurant that students rotate in and learn. There is the bake shop, front of house, chef line, family meal and the salad station. Between all that, all the students have to take turns washing dishes.
Bragg said there are 22 students in the restaurant this year. Last year, there were 29.
During the principles of culinary arts class, students learn safety and sanitation. They also learn basic theory and skills before going to the Blue Apron.
During the first year with Bragg, students take three dual credit classes: Introduction to Baking, Nutrition and Soups, Stocks and Sauces.
“So not only are we running the restaurant, we’re concentrating on those core areas,” Bragg said.
The state added a capstone class, and it was decided to do breakfast and pantry, which focuses on short-order cooking, preparing salads and all kinds of breakfast cookery. Human resources is also added into that capstone, so students learn how to hire, interview and onboard staff.
With the restaurant open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, students are doing classwork the rest of the week.
There was a soft opening this week and last week, Bragg said. Before the soft opening, the majority of his students have never learned how to serve, so they needed to learn how to do that. Also, the students come up with the menu and they have to learn how cook and price the menu, as well as make sure everyone knows how to do things.
Bragg said their menu doesn’t look all that big, but there are 12 to 14 things on the menu, so there’s at least a month worth of learning that goes into that.
On top of that, students are learning curriculum as well.
Barkey said hopefully students continue on the culinary arts pathway and become chefs or work in a restaurant because the “hospitality career in our community needs our students.” Barkey’s hope is students continue to technical school for culinary arts.
Even if a student doesn’t go into the culinary arts after high school, they still learn how to cook, which is a life skill, Barkey said.
Bragg said the Blue Apron is all about work-based learning and soft skills, so anything students learn at the Blue Apron, they can take into any other job.
“Not necessarily into the culinary. I’d love to see them go into the culinary field, but it’s not just about culinary. It’s like, can I be organized? Can I set a goal for myself? Can I be on time to work? Can I be professional at work? Can I write a memo? Can I do an email thread? Anything that has to do with any other work, they learn all that, too,” Bragg said.
Bragg said hopefully students can take the dual credits they’ve learned and go on to Ivy Tech. If not, hopefully students go into a career field and jump right in.
Senior Josh Rensberger said this is his second year in the Blue Apron. When he was younger, he said he really liked making people happy with food, so he started with the hospitality class and worked his way up to the restaurant.
“And so far this year, I’ve enjoyed my time here being able to make people smile, make people happy with food,” he said.
He said some of the things he’s learned is going into a dining room, serve people, take people’s orders and generally make people happy, being able to listen and work in teams.
Some of the benefits he sees is students can take all the skills they learn and use it in a restaurant or even a store because students learn how to keep food safe and run cash registers.
Rensberger said after high school, he is hoping to go to Baker College in Michigan. He said he feels prepared for the next step as he has received the foundational work all ready.
Senior Talia Kelley said this is her second year with the Blue Apron as well. She said over the COVID-19 pandemic, she got into baking and decided that’s what she wanted to do further on in her future.
Kelley said she has learned a lot of things. Students have to take a food safety certification test, which teaches students which temperatures certain foods have to be cooked at and how far off the ground food needs to be stored.
Before getting to the Blue Apron, she said didn’t know how to make a crepe and she learned to do that. She has also learned how to make different types of eggs.
She hopes to go to a culinary school. She hopes by being in the program, it will be easier to get into a program and possibly a scholarship.
She thinks the program has taught her a lot. She also works at Salvatori’s, so being in the Blue Apron helps her take the skills she learned there and apply them to her work at Salvatori’s.

Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


Public Occurrences 03.04.24
County Jail Bookings The following people were arrested and booked into the Kosciusko County Jail:

Blood + Sweat + Tears = A Warsaw Tigers Sectional Title
Blood, Sweat, and Tears – a band whose music was at its greatest popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s – would have been a fitting form of halftime entertainment at Elkhart’s Hoosier basketball temple, North Side Gymnasium. The Warsaw Tigers boys’ basketball team captured its 41st sectional title in the program’s history at this hallowed Hoosier Hysteria venue, defeating the Penn Kingsmen 46-34 Saturday night in the IHSAA Class 4A Sectional 4 battle.

Offensive Woes Doom Valley In Title Game Loss To Glenn
Playing IHSAA 3A Sectional 18 on their home court, the Tippecanoe Valley boys basketball team looked to avenge last season’s postseason loss to John Glenn in the title game on Saturday night. The Vikings started slow, mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, but were unable to come away victorious in a 35-30 loss.

Lancers Rout Marian, Will Host Championship On Tuesday
Grace’s men’s basketball team beat Marian in the Crossroads League Tournament for the third straight season on Saturday.

Bremen Man Arrested After Firearm Discharged At A Rochester School
ROCHESTER – A Bremen man was arrested on weapons and drug charges after he allegedly discharged a firearm during a wrestling tournament in Fulton County.