SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITY

A Fresh Look for the Foods Lab

Julia Child would be impressed with the new ETHS Foods Lab renovations that were unveiled to students this school year.  Over the summer, James R. Taylor, Lakes Area Painting, along with the ETHS custodian staff, led by John Linneman, gave the Foods Lab a much-needed makeover.  Some of the renovations paid for through the CTE Incentive Grant, included replacing the existing countertops and giving the aging yellow cabinets a fresh coat of paint.  “We went back and forth about replacing the cabinets. However, they are the original 1950s St. Charles metal cabinets. They have lasted this long and are still in great condition, so we saw no reason to replace them with a lower quality product.  James R. Taylor & Sons set us up with a fantastic painter that came in multiple times to consult and guide us through the process.  We wanted to be sure that the paint would last for years to come,” added Jinnesa Pluess, Family and Consumer Science (FCS) teacher.  In addition to cabinets and countertops, the old desks were replaced with counter-height tables with wood-grain tops that line up in the middle of the kitchen. These allow students to spread out and work in a more comfortable space, especially important during COVID social distancing.  When asked how these renovations have impacted the FCS program, Pluess commented, “This renovation will allow the Family and Consumer Science program to grow! The old countertops were peeling and the room itself was very dreary and uninspiring.  Students didn’t feel like they needed to take care of the space or the equipment because it was so worn out.  It was hard to get kids to believe that cooking and nutrition are important when the room was not deemed important.  Now, students are proud to be in the kitchen! They want to learn these extremely important life skills.”  Pluess had a little help from James R. Taylor when coming up with a new design for the kitchen.  “James R. Taylor & Sons were incredibly helpful with both the design and construction of this project!  Their interior designer, Hannah Schmid, was a fantastic guide. She helped us reign in our ideas and steered us in the right direction.”  As expected, student feedback has been very positive.  “Students that had class with me in prior years will walk in and say ‘Wow! It looks so great in here! I wish I had this class now!’” added Pluess.  What’s next for the Foods Lab?  Pluess has a few minor things she’d like to keep working on including updating the faucets, perhaps changing the backsplashes to bring in some color, and maybe even adding some large, vibrant images of fruits and vegetables to the walls. We will look forward to seeing continued improvements as the Food Lab becomes a modern workspace for students.  Bon Appetit!

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