Cooking with the Experts at Milton Hershey School
This month, Milton Hershey School seniors participated in the final round of an Iron Chef style cooking competition hosted by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R). This program began as a way for the culinary team at HE&R to interact with Transitional Living (TL) students, while mentoring them in an area of life that will help them upon graduation—cooking.
“I gained a lot of knowledge from my peers who had taken part in the competition previously,” shared Charlotte Lee, MHS senior. “I thought it was a fun event and I was glad to be able to have this valuable experience before graduating.”
The competition was set up much like the cooking shows that air on television. The students were split into teams and asked to create a traditional family meal using certain ingredients. The teams were judged on their ability to work together, create a plan, the cleanliness of their kitchen, and the sanitation precautions they used when handling ingredients.
“I gained skills by participating in the Iron Chef competition that I did not have before. While I am good at cooking with recipes, I had no idea where to begin without one before taking part in this opportunity,” shared Austin Price, MHS senior.
The competition, which held its first round earlier this school year, came out of other culinary-focused learning opportunities that HE&R offered the TL program during the pandemic. The programs—which fit into the school’s college and career readiness curriculum—included virtual workshops, small group cooking lessons, and other hands-on experiences.
Seniors—who live in apartment style living through the TL program—are given a budget each month to buy ingredients for cooking their own meals. During their final year at MHS, they are given the tools to learn how to prepare their own meals—helping them develop healthy cooking habits for their post-graduate life. The TL program was designed to give graduating seniors the tools they need to succeed outside of MHS. The culinary readiness program with HE&R is one way MHS partners with the community to make this happen.
The culinary team at HE&R has enjoyed getting to work with MHS students in this way. They are struck by students’ eagerness to learn and their vision for the tasks they are given. Not only do MHS students benefit from these relationships, but HE&R employees do, as well.
“Our team members at HE&R value the connections and relationships that are built through these experiences,” shared Chef Cher D. Harris, HE&R Pastry Chef. “Having the ability to support a part of Milton Hershey’s dream.”