Palatine High School Chemistry of Foods Students Host Annual Soup Charity Event

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Student-made soup bowls.

Student-made soup bowls.

Faculty, staff, and students at Palatine High School participated in a student-facilitated event dedicated to helping their community combat hunger.

Students in the Chemistry of Foods class hosted the annual “Empty Bowls Project” to raise funds for the Palatine Township Food Pantry on Feb. 6 at Palatine High School.

“We tell the kids that even though we might have bowls of soup that are full, there will always be someone who has a bowl that is empty, and we are helping those people,” said Erika Varela, culinary arts teacher at PHS. “I like seeing the satisfaction students have and how proud they are of their work.”

Junior Lexy Harms stirs soup while guest start to arrive.

Junior Lexy Harms stirs soup while guest start to arrive.

For a donation of $10, PHS attendees received a bowl made by students in the ceramic arts class, as well as soup, bread, and desserts made by the food chemistry students. Soup and bread was also available ala carte for $6 without a bowl. The five soups that students selected to prepare and serve were chicken soup, minestrone, baked potato soup, broccoli cheese soup, and creamy chicken wild rice soup.

This fundraising event took the place of a regular restaurant day, which is where students received a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be in a restaurant kitchen. The class, which combines a traditional cooking class with chemistry, provides students with a well-rounded learning experience about the food preparation, the industry, and cooking. As a dual-credit course with William Rainey Harper College, students have the opportunity to study and test for their food safety and sanitation certification at the high school.

soupbowls5“In this class we are teaching students skills that they can apply to their jobs, whether or not they become chefs, doctors, engineers, or lawyers, they are learning how to apply what they have learned in a classroom,” said science teacher Robert Heitz. “This event was applying those skills to a job in the kitchen and it was a very busy event. It was great hearing so many positive compliments from faculty and staff about the students’ work.”