Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Magnet Program
On certain days the delicious scents of baked goods and savory foods can greet people walking along Robertsville Road in Freehold. The mouthwatering treats aren’t being made in a downtown bakery or cafe, but are created inside Freehold High School, where students in the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Magnet Program are hard at work in specialized kitchen facilities.
The Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Magnet Program equips students to turn their passions into a career by being immersed in a four-year course of study. This consists of a wide range of courses, training, experiences, and activities in the food service career path.
Students' coursework is enhanced by operating all facets of a fully-functioning restaurant, the Five Star Cafe, which is open to the public on select days during the week. Students work both in the front and back of the house. By operating every aspect of the restaurant, students receive instruction in culinary arts, restaurant and menu planning, executive chef functions, hospitality management, food/beverage industry operations, cost control, purchasing and storage, event planning and management, health and safety, and applicable law and regulations.
In addition to rigorous coursework, the program enhances student involvement by providing career exploration, leadership activities, community service learning projects, and professional skill competitions, all available through SkillsUSA, a national leadership organization. By hosting events ranging from demonstrations by local industry professionals from such organizations as Wegmans Inc. and Trinity Seafood to "Iron Chef" style competitions, students are given ample opportunity to hone their skills.
Students in the program also participate in community service work including raising money annually in a partnership with their art peers during the Empty Bowls fundraiser. Art students create handmade ceramic bowls that are sold alongside a selection of soups made by the culinary students. In the fall of 2018, the fundraiser generated $1,100 for the local food bank, Fulfill Monmouth & Ocean.
Reaching beyond a traditional high school experience, students are prepared for the opportunity to earn the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe certification, an industry requirement. All students graduate the program with the NOCTI Food Prep Certification. Through robust career portfolio development, students not only gain advanced training but can earn college credits through partnerships with several colleges and universities.
Alumni of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Magnet Program currently hold positions in all areas of the industry including Head Chocolatier at Disney Co., producer at the Food Network, sous chef at Wegmans, Inc., as well as food stylists, nutritionists, and sommeliers. A graduate was a member of the first U.S. team to earn the gold at the Culinary Olympics, Bocuse D' Or in Lyon, France. Another graduate is a sous chef at Eleven Madison Park, voted Best Restaurant in the World, 2017.
The majority of the program's graduates continue their education by completing an associate, bachelor, or master level degree in various areas of the hospitality industry. Graduates have continued their hospitality education at the Culinary Institute of America, Cornell University, Johnson & Wales University, Fairleigh Dickinson, Stockton University, University of Delaware, Penn State, and many more.
The real-world skills gained by participating students led to the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Program being featured in National Geographic in 2014. This hands-on program provides ample opportunities for students interested in any aspect of culinary arts to pursue their passion.