A major focus of the The College Experience is ensuring that students have the skills they will need to live independently and really thrive on their own after completing the program. Our students work hard to hone their cooking skills both in cooking class and while preparing meals in the evening because after all, everyone needs to eat!

In fact in many ways, our students probably leave the program better prepared than their peers in other college programs because of their diligent work in learning “real-world” skills. I remember when I first began college, about all I could do was boil water and make pasta! Even after I was working and living on my own, my cooking skills were pretty minimal but because of my motivation to eat well, I eventually caught on and self-taught myself a lot of techniques. Of course, I made a ton of mistakes along the way!

CEP students make a lot of mistakes in the kitchen as well, because we allow them the opportunities to make mistakes. Yes — making mistakes can be a GREAT opportunity! Just ask my husband; I remember a time he mistook powdered sugar for flour, and after having to eat a sickly-sweet dish, he’s always sure to double check now! Our instructors won’t always stop students when something is about to go wrong because we want students to learn and grow from their mistakes, too!

Our focus this fall has been on the basics – kitchen safety, following a recipe, food prep (chopping, peeling, etc.), and preparing foods on the stove top. During the spring semester, students move onto more advanced cooking topics.

In the last few weeks, I have seen our students become more confident in their skills each day. If you happen to be a friend or family member of a College Experience student, ask them to cook you something when they are home for the holidays – I bet you’ll be blown away! I’m not promising that we have any Emeril Lagasses, Gordon Ramsays or Rachel Rays in our ranks, but I can promise you their skills probably surpass a lot of their college-aged peers!

This week, all of our students and some of our alumni will be busy preparing side-dishes, deserts and other items for our annual College ExperienceThanksgiving party. We can’t wait to share photos from the main event and all of the delicious dishes from the feast!

AndrewNutritionCookingStudents celebrating a meal well done at The College Experience