- Cleburne Independent School District
Student Executive Chefs Coordinating Global Food Tour at Multicultural Fair
A stop in Germany is included in the Cleburne High School Culinary Arts global food tour taking place at tonight’s Cleburne ISD Multicultural Fair, set for 5-8 PM in the Cleburne Conference Center.
The preparation and serving of samplings of dishes traditional to six countries are being coordinated by student executive chefs Justin Warniment, Emma Botkin, Michelle Gallegos, Jadia Walters, Rosy Ortiz and Karman Wright. From tastings of Shepard’s Pie and a dense chocolate cake unique to Ireland to Thai cuisine and Poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese curds) served up in Canada, Fairgoers are guaranteed a gastronomic experience. Countries represented also include Costa Rica and Spain.
Warniment, who was born in Munich, Germany, proposed his homeland’s inclusion in the Multicultural Fair menu to Chef Adair Smith, who oversees the advanced culinary program and the Sting Bistro, the high school’s student-run restaurant.
“I asked if we could include food from Germany this year,” Warniment said. “I lived in Germany until I was two, and I have grown up on German food, prepared by my mom, who is from Germany. She makes schnitzel, spaetzle and all kinds of pastries.”
“We went back to Germany in 2014 to visit my mother’s family and I ate traditional dishes at every meal,” he said. “I’m excited to be giving everyone a little taste of Germany at the Multicultural Fair.”
Warniment, working with his cooking team and classmates Addison Allen, Xavier Rodriguez and Alex Lawson, has been busy preparing a breaded fried pork Schnitzel, along with Kapustnyak—Sauerkraut Soup—and Apple Strudel.
“I hope everyone steps out of their comfort zone and tries the soup,” he said. “Between the broth and the blend of spices and flavors, the soup doesn’t have that strong sauerkraut taste like it does on a hot dog. We’ll be serving the apple strudel, which is my favorite, with vanilla ice cream.”
Smith says he welcomes suggestions from his students, knowing it will add to their sense of ownership in a task or project.
“When some of my students are interested in a certain country in planning our menu for the Multicultural Fair, that tells me they are inspired,” Smith said. “Justin picked all three German dishes that he and his team are preparing. All I did was look up the recipes and modify them to meet the amount of people we anticipate serving.”
“I try to make this as student-run as possible,” Smith said. “In preparing the food and running their serving areas, they are basically operating their own little restaurants. They are working with their own staff, with the goal of bringing a quality experience to the ‘customers’ attending the Multicultural Fair. These kids are pumped up to showcase what they can do.”
Warniment is a four-year culinary arts student at CHS and has been the Sting Bistro manager of to-go orders this year. He is planning on a career in the hospitality industry and hopes to attend El Centro Community College in Dallas to continue his studies in culinary arts.
“I cook dinner for my family a lot,” he said. “It’s been fun growing my skills at school and at home. Getting to be a manager in the Sting Bistro has also been a great experience. I would like to be a head chef at a well-known restaurant or maybe be a restaurant manager. Or I might open my own restaurant in Germany.”
“It’s a little scary when others sample what you have prepared—you can often see their opinion of what you have made on their faces,” he said. “I’m ready to serve tonight and see peoples’ reactions to authentic German food.”
Tonight’s Multicultural Fair will also feature student performances from 5:20-7:10 in the Conference Center Theatre, along with student art exhibits, a STEM Exploration Room, Face Painting, children’s activities and a variety of booths providing information on family resources available in Cleburne schools and the community.