Blue Coyote Cafe
Slicing, dicing, and sizzling are some of the many skills future chefs practice in The Blue Coyote Cafe. Chef Stephanie San Sebastian is the teacher for this Culinary III ROP course. Students learn important skills such as time management, taking orders, cooking fast but efficiently, teamwork, billing — the list goes on. Just as any other class, though, these students take tests. The difference, though, is that these students also undergo the “stress test.” Not quite like making dinner for the family, as Cassandra Muñoz described.
“She gives us a certain amount of time, so say we have 30 minutes to cook chicken, fries, salad, pasta… and so whatever we cooked we had to serve it to them. It was like a three-course meal within 30 minutes,” Muñoz said. The learning curve in this kitchen is a bit steep. “I was so stressed out because I didn't know what to do.” Cooking all of that within a short time frame could be a bit much, but that's just how the food business works.
It may seem like a lot of work, but for these trainees, it will be worth it in the long run. “...Knowing that I’m getting the experience so that if I want to work in a restaurant, I could put that (this class) experience here because it’s basically how it works ... in a restaurant,” senior Diego Lopez said.
Watching the class is like watching synchronized swimmers. Students complete their tasks in smooth and even eloquent motion, chopping, steaming, and sauteing whatever they put on the stove. All while their choreographer of a chef adviser makes sure that what they are doing is up to par.
Chef San Sebastian's management skills are a lot like the management skills at an actual restaurant. Even though the student chefs constantly go back and forth from kitchen to kitchen, they learn to work together in a limited amount of time to prepare all the food they will serve before lunch.
But for Chef San Sebastian, the prep for The Blue Coyote Cafe starts way before her third-fourth period ROP class begins. “I get up at 6 in the morning; I buy all the stuff; I’m here until 6:45. I work hours teachers don’t usually work,” San Sebastian said as she discussed her daily routine. She feels that helping these students achieve the necessary skills for their future careers in food preparation is an accomplishment worth her while, and even more, worth the wait for her students' future customers.
The Blue Coyote Cafe welcomes teachers and their guests to dine in during lunch hours. They open on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the entire school year.