Student chefs offered tips, tricks

by Briana Sutherland
Contributing writer
Elk River High School students in Kathy Ellefson’s food occupation class learned some tips and tricks from executive chef Mark Crane, sous chef Michelle Pieschourt and pastry chef Gena Livingston from Sofitel in Minneapolis, as a part of the Chef in Schools program.

Executive Chef Mark Crane demonstrated how to efficiently clean salmon.

Crane visits schools to teach the importance of healthy food choices through an interactive cooking demonstration and discussion of healthy food choices, food preparation and the history and traditions behind food and its culture. His demonstration showed students how to incorporate fresh, local produce into their meals at home with a goal to inspire students to have a passion for the path they choose in life.
Elk River High School was the first stop this school year for the Chef in Schools program. Rana Nestrud, art teacher and director of the Arts Magnet program, contacted Sofitel in August to bring this program to Elk River High School to have something unique from their usual program.
“This really brings in a cultural aspect,” said Nestrud.

Atlantic salmon was one of the dishes prepared in front of the students.

Students sampled a wide variety of pastries and desserts as they watched Crane make two dishes, Atlantic salmon and organic chicken. He showed students a technique to clean the chicken and salmon, along with having students help him during the demonstration. Livingston demonstrated how to make decorative pieces to accent food, such as flowers.
The class ended with Crane demonstrating how to efficiently peel a potato as well as answer questions from excited students. Their class ended with students receiving their own Sofitel aprons and baguettes to bring home.
To bring the Chef in Schools program to your school, contact Amy Lewis at 952-835-1900.