During her freshman year of high school in Pennsauken, Deanna Carter was restless. She was a great student, but wanted something more than academics to fill her days. She had always loved cooking with her mom, so why not spice her skills up a notch? Deanna moved to Upper Pittsgrove to live with her father and begin her sophomore year as a full-time student at Salem County Career Technical High School's Academy for Culinary Arts & Hospitality program.
As the year progressed, things for Deanna just got bigger and better. "In culinary, they teach us that it may look great, but it has to be practical. Basically, you have to be able to make a batch of 500 out of it," explains Deanna, now 16 and a junior. "We make soup a lot for the teacher lunchline. We make the soups in 5- to 10-gallon batches. When we say big batches, we mean it!"
Deanna, who would like to combine her love for the kitchen with her strong math and management skills, plans to become a food and beverage manager--after she goes to college to continue her culinary training. Deanna has learned more than how to make her famous triple chocolate mousse cake, which, by the way, took third place in last year's Chocolate Competition. She has been empowered to succeed in any career through practical training:
1. Time Management: "It's so important, especially in the kitchen, to be able to juggle making a starch, a vegetable and a meat at the same time and get them out at the same time," explains Deanna. "We learn that managing your time properly is important in all you do."
2. A Half Cup, Doubled: "Our teachers put a big emphasis on working with money and breaking down recipes and make them bigger. We constantly use basic math like multiplication, division and percentages. They are such important foundations of any career you pursue."
3. Be Organized: "Lots of times we pile the dishes in the sink and are racing around to clean at the end of the day," says Deanna. "They teach us to clean as we go."
4. Never Doubt Yourself: "This is a biggie," says Deanna. "If you set a goal for yourself and believe you can reach it, then you will reach it. If you believe you can do it, then you will."