The Spaghetti Dinner

“I’m experimenting with substitution.” Yinka winks.  She’s about to reveal her secret ingredient for a chicken tarragon salad sandwich.  “Yogurt instead of mayonnaise! That’s the trick.” She dips her finger into the yogurt. “It’s just healthier… and oh so delicious.” It’s great being executive chef, she decides.

But enough with the kitchen experiments.  Time to get ready for the spaghetti dinner!

Tonight is a huge deal. The Culinary Institute of Keels, aka The CIK, was recently contractedby the principal to cater a reception for the superintendent.  

What would be a perfect side dish? Carefully, she thumbs through The CIK’s recently published cookbook, Recipes for a Healthy Life.. Tortellini pasta salad .. banana smoothies … quesadillas… huevos rancheros sofrito..all healthy dishes that Yinka and her budding foodies learned how to prepare from Chef Quasha this year at school.  

Garlic bread, belissimo! 

Now, she must step it up.  The guests are already taking their seats!

In her most authoritative voice, Yinka directs her young sous chefs to complete their prep work at their stations in an orderly fashion.  “Only 30 minutes left!”  Stay positive, she reminds herself.

Showtime. Wearing decorated chef hats and aprons, Yinka’s staff parades out into the dining room. Yinka leads the way, shakes hands with the visitors and tells them all about the School of Entrepreneurial Leadership program.  “And don’t forget to buy our cookbook before you go,” she adds with a grin.   Plating, serving, and doing it all with a dash of debonair, that’s Yinka’s style.

“This is the most remarkable learning platform I have ever experienced,” the superintendent admitted.  Yinka and her team get a standing ovation.

And to think, she started out as the bookkeeper (she is great at math)! Academics is clearly just one ingredient in her gastronomic success.

About Yinka and Joseph Keels School of Entrepreneurial Leadership

Yinka received her culinary arts training from Chef Jeffrey Quasha, of Sodexo, as part of a 12-week program at  Joseph Keels School of Entrepreneurial Leadership, a MicroSociety magnet school in Columbia, South Carolina. Sodexo is Richland School District Two’s food services vendor, and one of the school’s business partners. The program is funded, in part, by a USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program grant and facilitated by Elena Evangelista, 5th grade teacher. Yinka’s dream is to become a farm-to-table chef.


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