It’s never too young to start thinking about what to do when you grow up.
At least that is what a group of eighth graders at Belmont Ridge Middle School experienced with a behind-the-scenes view of the hospitality industry on Tuesday, hosted by the National Conference Center.
The program, in its fifth year, is part of the middle school’s business partnership program that gives students a chance to experience everything from planning an event to practicing culinary techniques.
The six-part series brings small groups of students to the National Conference Center for a hands-on approach to learning.
The students were able to meet and work with NCC’s Executive Chef, Craig Mason.
“I am teaching them how to create a visually interesting plate presentation, including finding a focal point and flow of the food, and how to make it look appealing,” Mason said.
The students were given ingredients to make a dessert with puff pastry, sauces and fresh berries and told they would be judged for the best presentation.
They were also taught to put their math skills to work by calculating food costs to determine menu pricing.
"We hope this experience gave them some insight into what they can do," said Joseph Lane, director of Food and Beverage at the National Conference Center.
"Today was not just for learning about the hospitality industry, we also want them to understand the 4 C's, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, which will help launch them into any field," Lane added.
For photos from the event, click through the media viewer.