Class cooks up life skills, experiences


Kendall Bowers

Culinary program Chef, Molly Gordan, is guiding a student in what to add into a new sauce. Helping the student mix as they add zest from a lemon into the bowl.

Preheating the ovens, preparing the sauces, cleaning dishes. Things you would never expect in a high school, but are common in the Wando culinary class. Chef Molly Gordon leads the class through instruction and teaches her students how to make a myriad of dishes.


“At Wando, our Culinary 1 students learn to identify ingredients, how to properly prepare them with knife cuts, following the correct safety and sanitation procedures and then the basics of cooking techniques,” Gordon said.


They often learn by taking notes, much like a traditional class. However, learning the vocabulary is just a step towards the real deal.


“We do papers, we take tests, and there’s study guides and worksheets, but that’s building the basic knowledge of vocabulary. And then we take that vocabulary to use in the kitchen, because if you don’t have a basic understanding of vocabulary, you work super slow in the kitchen,” Gordon said. 


While the Culinary 1 students learn the basics, it doesn’t stop there. Students who sign up for Culinary 2 can learn new techniques, and even more about how ingredients interact with each other.


Students also learn the basics of restaurant management while taking the culinary courses. At first they take hold of serving customers, and then later how to run a restaurant in full.


Gordon prides herself on being able to teach the course as someone who has tons of background in the culinary world. She went to school primarily for culinary work and does everything she can to implement what she learned into her classroom.


“We have guest speakers, I call them visiting chefs if they are chefs. And then we go on some field trips too,” Gordon said.


Gordon often uses the visiting chefs to teach her students a lesson. From crabbing out on the docks with well known crabbers, to teaching a normal class lesson, Gordon’s visiting chefs help liven the class environment.


Khaled Elzabidi, a Culinary 2 student, says he loves being a part of the program. Elzabidi appreciates the fact that Chef Gordon brings in all kinds of people to teach the class.


“We went on a field trip to do oysters and they came to tell us about Charleston life and sustainability,” Elzabidi said.


Elzabidi recommends the culinary course to anyone that may find themselves interested. For Elzabidi, culinary helped him make new friends, and learn more about an industry he was interested in exploring.


“I feel like cooking is also very important. Whenever you’re in college, you’re gonna be by yourself. I feel like it’s very important to know,” Elzabidi said.