New Jersey high school students develop new skills in baking program

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Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Pennsauken students learn new skills in school baking program
Pennsauken students learn new skills in school baking program

PENNSAUKEN, New Jersey -- It sure smells good in one New Jersey high school classroom.

International baking ingredient company Puratos teamed up with Pennsauken High School in Camden County to establish a baking program for high school students. The program helps set up students for their futures.

"I got involved because I want to open up a restaurant one day," said senior Saida Saoud, who had already taken culinary courses at the school.

Techniques, math, and the science behind baking, are all part of the program in the school's career and technical education program, taught by Kendall Elliot, who has been in the industry for years.

"We want them to know what is actually taking place while the ingredients are all mixing in a bowl- like the flour needs to be hydrated from the water," said Elliott.

Together, the district launched the program with Puratos, which has its North American headquarters located in Pennsauken. Puratos now has nine baking schools like this around the world.

"In the United States, the American Bakers Association said the number one challenge facing the industry is a shortage of skilled labor, so it seems a very obvious thing for us to do to help our customers," explained Andrew Brimacombe, president of Puratos USA.

Students not only learn baking skills but prepare for the workforce- whether at Puratos or elsewhere.

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"We like to think the goal is bigger than Puratos. We want to be a significant player within the industry and help the industry move forward," Brimacombe said.

Saoud and Matt McDaniel took part in an 8-week summer internship at Puratos and just returned from Texas where they traveled with the company and spoke to customers.

"They were great people to talk to, to figure out different opportunities for us in the industry," McDaniel said.

The school has continued to grow its career and technical education options in recent years- offering ten different programs including baking.

"We have students coming out with credentials where they can gain gainful employment upon graduation instead of going into college and going into debt. Anywhere along the lines these kids can always go back to college," said assistant principal Jon Reising.

"This gave me a good opportunity with colleges and everything. I feel like I can really be able to pursue my goal," Saoud said.

Students take all requirements needed to meet state standards and can also take these courses.


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