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South Whidbey High School junior Matt Gregory and senior Anna Merrill help chef Tom French prepare food for the Tutor Mentor <p>Appreciation breakfast this week. Merrill and Gregory participated in a food preparation and handling class this spring at the South Whidbey Youth Center. - Gayle Saran
South Whidbey High School junior Matt Gregory and senior Anna Merrill help chef Tom French prepare food for the Tutor Mentor

Appreciation breakfast this week. Merrill and Gregory participated in a food preparation and handling class this spring at the South Whidbey Youth Center.

— image credit: Gayle Saran

South Whidbey restaurant owners looking for more staff this summer will have a larger pool of trained students to choose from.

Local chef Tom French taught 10 students from the South Whidbey Youth Center the fine art of rolling a pie crust and whisking a souffle this spring.

French, who is the chef for the Whidbey Institute, is a certified instructor for ServSafe, a national education program that provides training specific to the job responsibilities of front line employees in the food service business. This spring, he has been working with South Whidbey students who want to learn what it takes to get a job in a restaurant kitchen.

"I love working with kids, and wanted to do something that would help them and the community," French said.

Students completed four hours of classroom learning and two classes with hands-on experience in the kitchen with French.

For Bayview High School students, the course also gave them work experience credits toward their graduation requirements.

Anna Merrill, a South Whidbey High School senior, plans on a career in food service. She received a scholarship to Seattle Central Culinary School next year.

Junior Matt Gregory said the experience has been great. He plans to use his knowledge for summer employment.

"The course gives them a step up," French said. "They will go into a restaurant job knowing more about the business."

French hopes to offer the course twice next year.

In Island County food service workers are required to have a Food Handlers permit.

Community Events, April 2014

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