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Forward Thinking: Maine students get real-life experience in the food industry

(WGME)

Welcome to Culinary Concepts, where students learn how to bake, grill, slice and dice and much more.

Mark Hannibal is in his third year of teaching the class at Portland’s Arts and Technology High School or PATHS.

After years of culinary school, working at restaurants and owning one, Hannibal knows there's only one way to be successful.

"There's no substitution for experience, hands on experience,” Hannibal said.

That's why students in his class spend most of the time in the kitchen.

"I want them to be able to come in and know how to handle a knife, how to set up a work station, how to show up on time and dress appropriately. All those skills that you didn't see in a cookbook,” Hannibal said.

That also includes business math, sanitation, marketing, nutrition and one of the most popular parts of the curriculum, how to make some delicious desserts.

"The other day I learned how to make donuts and so I’m going to go home this weekend and make some donuts and have fun with it,” student Andrew Carroll said.

As fun as the class is, there's one part some students don't like.

"Cleanup is not exactly at the top of their list,” Hannibal said.

But it's all part of getting the students after graduation into a culinary college or working at a restaurant.

"It's great to come in here every single day and actually be able to work, doing the stuff that we want to be able to do for our career,” student Ty Jordan said.

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