Maspeth High School students cook up $500 to donate to minority and women-owned restaurants

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Maspeth High School students taking part in the summer cooking club (Photo courtesy of Jesse Pachter)

Students from Maspeth High School raised over $500 for minority and women-owned restaurants from meals they prepared at the school’s summer cooking club.

The high school offered a cooking club for all students to take part in over the summer for the first time this year. Students arrived every morning at 7 a.m. and cooked meals to order for summer school staff and students.

Assistant Principal Jesse Pachter said the school offers different initiatives each year as a way to encourage students to attend summer school.

“We were trying to figure out what we were going to offer for students who might not need to come in for credits to give them an opportunity to look forward to coming to school,” Pachter said.

Pachter said the purpose of the cooking club was to teach students basic cooking skills while cooking internationally diverse meals for the school community.

“They were learning how to be self-sufficient and more independent and they really grew from the experience. A lot of them had never cooked for their household before,” he said. “Every day was a different dish and it spanned across cultures — they made a Korean-style breakfast and a Dominican-style breakfast. We wanted to tap into the cultures of our student body.”

One of the meals prepared by students (Photo courtesy of Jesse Pachter)

Faculty and students weren’t charged for the meals, but they were encouraged to give a donation. The money raised was donated to Off Their Table, an organization that empowers minority and women-owned restaurants. The organization also provides meals for people in crisis.

The majority of the students who participated were actually incoming freshmen. Pachter believes the program offered a great introduction to the school and said that the cooking club will definitely be returning next summer.

“I think it’s going to be something we’re going to offer every summer. The kids were super excited and they were proud to show us their dishes,” Pachter said.

A Maspeth High School student taking part in the summer cooking club (Photo courtesy of Jesse Pachter)