The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

Culinary club members volunteer at REEF’s Starlight Soiree

At the start of dinner service, Chef Michael Scagliotti supervises Samira Jackson and Rose Li as they plate greens for the salad course. Scagliotti guided them through the process of making several plates and provided feedback when necessary. Working alongside professionals in the culinary and hospitality industry, Culinary Club members gained experience by preparing several courses for guests at the Starlight Soiree on Oct. 12 at Quarry Park. Photo by Rhaymark Nazareno

The sound of clattering dishes and waves of heat from an open grill surrounded Culinary Club members as they worked together under the moonlight of Quarry Park to assemble meals for ravenous guests. These future chefs put their skills and hobbies to use at REEF’s Starlight Soiree, where they were assisted by professionals in the food industry to cook meals for the formal dinner. 

On Oct. 12, the REEF Starlight Soireby Sondra Jensen, the event was attended by the mayor, superintendent and several business owners. The purpose of the REEF Starlight Soiree was to raise awareness for what it is, explaining over a nice formal dinner. 

REEF stands for the ‘Rocklin Educational Excellence Foundation.’ It is an extra funding arm to the school district that helps pay for what isn’t within the school budget. In the past, it brought in portable buildings for after-school programs, and allows teachers to apply for grants if they needed extra supplies or products for their classrooms. 

“Not everyone knows what REEF is and what they can do. [People are] coming [tonight] to hear more about REEF and to help with the fundraising [and] support all of the things that they do,” Jensen said. 

The band played live music, ROTC welcomed guests and students from the Culinary Club prepared the meals served to all those attending. For some, it was their first experience working with professionals in the food industry. 

As a first-year in Culinary Club, Rachel Treto was excited to volunteer for the event and prepare food for the guests. While Treto was not able to take Culinary l, she volunteered for the soiree because of her passion for cooking. 

“I’m hoping to gain more [of an] understanding of how cooking and preparing food works in [a] career aspect … and to have fun,” Treto said.

Along with Treto, Culinary Club President Sam Marques also volunteered at the dinner. Because of her previous experience working with The Chef’s Table for a third year, Marques made sure that all volunteers had all the qualities necessary to be involved. 

“Communication skills are good because it’s very fast paced, so you need to be able to hear and talk with people and get what needs to be done. Food skills are also helpful because we are in fact catering, so basic knowledge of that is always helpful,” Marques says.

Members of the club worked with Chef Michael Scagliotti and Mr. Brian Cramer. Scagliotti works as a professional chef

at The Chef’s Table, who came to the soiree to teach the members on how to make side dishes, main courses and desserts. 

As a side dish, students made a salad with fresh greens and roasted squash, topping it with walnuts, blue cheese and homemade salad dressing. The main course was beef tenderloin and salmon filet with a hollandaise sauce, paired with roasted potato fingerlings and grilled broccolini. For dessert, they made an apple crumble, sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with whipped cream. 

Members of the Culinary Club were able to keep up with Scagliotti all because of their culinary teacher, Chef Cramer. Cramer taught them about food safety, preparation, knife skills, time management and other key culinary skills. Cramer said he plans to teach more skills throughout the year as their teacher and guiding professional. He was contacted by Jensen and other REEF organizers to have the students work with The Chef’s Table at the event. 

“This is one of our primary opportunities outside of the school setting; to work with professionals that are actively in

the industry. [The members of the culinary club] get to see a different style of cooking. We don’t do a ton of catering here on campus [which lets them] see how catering operations work. These are some of the best cooks that are in the area,” Cramer says. He adds, “The most rewarding part is being able to work as a team quickly and consistently, which in my opinion, ensured the success of this event.”


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