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Cresthill ‘chefs-in-training’ whip up 4Cs during Culinary Extravaganza

HIGHLANDS RANCH – For a few nights this month, Cresthill Middle School was turned into one of the most popular restaurants in Highlands Ranch.

The students in Rene Tomczak’s “Culinary Arts For Kids” classes put their 21st Century Skills to work, demonstrating communication and collaboration as they entertained as many as 75 guests during each of the five nights in March.

Those nights were cross-disciplinary authentic learning opportunities for the Cresthill students. They served appetizers while guests viewed the art gallery on display in the halls and chatted with the artists from Juliette Sawyer’s art class. 

Guests were then seated in the candle-lit dining area, where they were introduced to their head chefs and assistant chefs, whom were elected by their peers to lead the night. Every student had a role—whether it was serving as hostesses, servers, bussers or line cooks. 

At the table, edible flowers embedded in beautifully plated salads, gave the evening a colorful start. Guests were entertained between the courses with vocalists and a comical Italian opera singer imitator.  The main course was homemade pizza with toppings served to the liking of their audience, including gluten-free preferences. Homemade Italian cream cake drizzled with raspberry and caramel glaze was served for a sweet finish.

One of Tomczak’s mottos in class is “Every Minute Matters!” She shared that while watching the students at work, it was clear that they had learned to be resilient, and to make the most of their time to accomplish a summative performance assessment such as this.  

Guest surveys collected indicated a rating of “5 Stars,” and that they are eager to make reservations for another fabulous dining experience at the Cresthill bistro.


March 18, 2015 | By rmbarber | Category:

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It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.