Rachael Ray Scholarship allows Silver High culinary students to open a café within the school - Silvercity Daily Press

Rachael Ray Scholarship allows Silver High culinary students to open a café within the school – Silvercity Daily Press

(Daily Press camera crew, Joe Lutz)
Imarie Flores and her entrepreneurship class tested a sample of the jam the students made for the exhibition in the room that would become the completely redesigned dining room of their grant-funded café, The Blue Door.

Silver High School Emmarie Flores kicked off the semester this week by asking students to remember their role in entrepreneurship and what their plans are for the grand opening of their new café.
It’s calling for a vote to determine whether the Blue Door Café will open on October 4th or a month later, when all the new furniture and equipment they’ve purchased will arrive.
“I finished answering the questions about the opening date!” exclaimed student Karen Dietz. Other students agreed, and the unanimous vote to pull the trigger – October is so.
The Flores Culinary Entrepreneurship class at Silver High School recently received a $5,000 grant from the Rachael Ray Foundation and $50,000 in capital expenditures from the state to set up a café for students and staff at the school. This class is the second in a two-year training program called ProStart, whose curriculum comes from the National Restaurant Association and which teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills.
“I think I can reach students who don’t want to go to college,” Flores said. “They want to start working right away. I offer driving opportunities other than sports or clubs.”
Silver High is one of 38 schools across the country to receive funds from the Rachael Ray ProStart Grow Grant Program, which operates through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Schools that have or want ProStart programs are eligible to apply, and students in the Silver High program have written articles to support their scholarship application.
This year, there are 75 students in the program, which Flores says is a model number over the six years she has taught classes.
“Every year they start a coffee shop, within our means,” Flores explained. “This year, the scholarship will allow us to renew, and we have a really excited group.”
But with the honor and increased resources the scholarship provides, new challenges come.
“The hardest part will be the preparation, because we haven’t been given that much time to start working,” Flores said.
She said they would get booths, tables, chairs, tables, food heaters and ovens. They also get a glass display case, and they’ll make a lot of pre-made salads. In addition to the serving area in the food lab, they will create a small outside dining area outside the back door.
“I already asked,” Flores said. “It’s so exciting!”
The students themselves will run the show. In addition to cooking, they learn marketing, sales, costing and control, and how to research a target market.
For Blue Door Café, the target market is school students and staff, and as the café’s social media manager, 16-year-old Mia Medina plays a huge role in reaching this audience.
She said she joined ProStart in the first year to learn how to cook professionally, and continued into the second year when she heard about the opportunity to start a café.
“I’m creative, and I wanted to try to make the café even better than it was last year,” Medina said. “My plan is to try and get good pictures of the cafe and the food we’re making, to see if he can get people here.”
She also hopes that students and staff will use social media platforms to communicate what they want and provide feedback, helping the class improve the process.
She should keep her job busy, because Student Cafe can be found on four social media platforms: on Instagram at shs_cafe, on TikTok at SHSCafe2022, on Snapchat at SHSCafe and on Facebook as SHS Cafe.
Medina says her favorite dish made in class is ramen, because she was able to choose from so many things to put in it. She said she aims to travel the world and one day start a coffee shop or bakery when she settles down.
Flores herself has been working in the restaurant all her life.
“My grandfather used to work as a chef at the Murray Hotel,” she said. “Both grandmothers were cooks — one of them had a restaurant. My parents owned the Penjamo Cafe in Bayard, and growing up, I was at the restaurant while my parents were cooking.”
She brought this background and passion for cooking with her into the classroom. After raising her children and obtaining a master’s degree in education, she became a long-term substitute teacher in housekeeping. When she opened the position full-time, she got the job and earned endorsement, majoring in family and consumer sciences.
Flores said she doesn’t have a favorite dish, as she loves to cook seasonal food: salsa for when fruits and vegetables come in, pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving. She says she was best known for her cinnamon roll and green enchiladas.
Before moving into the kitchen to sample the jams the students made for the Grant County Fair, the class also voted — 7-4 — to paint a mural on the back wall, replacing it with a solid tan.
Presumably they will leave the double doors of the food court blue – otherwise they will have to change the name of the cafe.

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