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Taste of Tomorrow Career Day 2023



By Food Education Fund At Food and Finance High School, NYC

By Georgette Farkas

The whole wheat turkey and cheddar sandwiches and winter grain and butternut squash salads that Great Performances served this Saturday were not delivered to a typical event venue and were not destined for a typical catering client. In fact, the 750 bagged lunches were devoured by New York City high school students taking part in the Food Education Fund’s “Taste of Tomorrow” 2023 Career Day at the Food and Finance High School. Working with Food and Finance Highschool through student internships throughout the year has been the highlight of our ongoing workforce development and outreach programs. Witnessing their curiosity and engagement at their Career Day reflected, once again, just how fortunate we are to have these motivated young people in our culinary community.

Culinary professionals came out in force to share their skills and experience at this event open to all New York City public high school students interested in food careers. Cooking classes and interactive seminars, covering just about every possible food world topic filled every corner of the West 50th Street school.  Students practiced hands on in the kitchen with chefs including Omar Tate, Lena Ciardullo and Vera Kaltinik, as they shaped fresh pasta, prepared donuts, made mozzarella and discovered whole animal butchery and sausage making  and so much more.

NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks welcomed students from across the city before they fanned out to explore food entrepreneurship, brand strategy, marketing and restaurant operations. For example, the maître d’ from Brooklyn’s famed restaurant Francie, gave students a taste of real world customer facing front of house know how. Elsewhere, the likes of Pete Wells of The New York Times and Heath Goldman of TV Food Network provided an introduction to working in food media. Students could even opt for presentations on food photography and food styling. There was particular interest in community gardening, thanks to a team from Grow NYC, as well as a compelling food justice panel led by Rae Gomes.

On the catering front, Great Performances’ own Jenelle Cruickshank led an event planning seminar, giving students the opportunity to build a non profit gala from the ground up. The highschoolers plunged into the exercise head on, demonstrating their appreciatelion for the guest experience, and revealing some promising event planners of tomorrow in the group, as Great Performances founder, Liz Neumark, looked on from her very own schoolroom desk.

Food media leader Dana Cowin provided a career day highlight, with an inspiring panel and insights from a chef, a sustainability expert, a culinary editor, an influencer and an entrepreneurial blondie baker, all sharing their winding career paths to professional success. Unanimously, panelists recognized the Food and Finance High School’s unique value in providing exposure and opportunities they could not have dreamed of when they were starting out. As the day came to an end, Program Director Kat Taveras announced scholarship winners, reflecting the Food Education Fund’s drive to inspire students to continue their studies. Including those apples in the student lunches was clearly a very good idea.

Use this link to support the Food Education Fund or to take part in their internship programs.