Columbus Downtown students whip up culinary creations at new Columbus Café

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Just follow your nose and let it lead you to one of Columbus’ most interactive classrooms.

Pineapples are sliced and diced, tender pork is being prepped, and dollops of whipped cream are being added to each slice of cheesecake.

Columbus Downtown High School student Joshua Fralick says, “It’s my passion here. I love it. It’s cool.”

Students get to practice their passion at school.

“We made clam chowder soup,” Fralick said. “It was so good. I never made it before, never had it.”

Some of these aspiring chefs are following family traditions.

culinary cafe“My grandpa, when I was a kid, used to make me stay up and cook Thanksgiving and then I just kind of got a passion for it,” Fralick added.

Others just love food. Student Marquez Freeman laughs and says, “I like to eat.”

Chef Anthony Ruffin leads the juniors and seniors in this industrial kitchen inside the high school. Ruffin says, “It’s a real life food service atmosphere.”

The students make all kinds of food. Freeman says, “We make a lot of burgers, chicken, paninis, sandwiches, and stuff like that.”

Skills are tests in this class. Chef Ruffin adds, “It teaches them how to use the actual equipment they will use once they go into the industry.”

Fralick explains, “Here, it’s hands on. You can’t fall asleep while you are doing something. You’re more awake, you’re more lively, and I guess it just grabs your attention.”

Twice a week, student dishes are plated and served in a fully functional café on school grounds.

Freeman says, “You have to follow certain techniques and procedures to make sure everything is safe and make sure everything tastes nice for the guests and customers.”

On this day, the Downtown Columbus High School Café is open.  The tables are set, service is excellent, and the food is tasty.

Freeman says this atmosphere sets him up for future success.

“I feel like this environment is preparing me for the real world or how it will be in my career when I do get a career in the food service industry,” he says.

Time spent in this kitchen is certainly time well spent for these future central Ohio chefs and business owners.

Fralich has big plans.

“I want to go to business school and I want to go to Columbus State for culinary,” he said. “I might check out some other schools and then I want to open my own business, my own restaurant.”

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