WHS, Carboni’s cook up a culinary collaboration

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Winters High School and Carboni’s Ristorante have joined forces in a new, culinary collaboration. Through it, students will get a hands-on education on the restaurant industry, and receive some work experience with which to sauté their resume.

The collaboration is not a new concept, however. Working in tandem with the WHS culinary program was always part of the restaurant’s original planning. Then COVID hit like a sucker punch and floored the plans for a while.

“WHS has a wonderful culinary program, and the original concept was for us to partner with Winters High School students that were interested in culinary career opportunities,” said Guysell Geter, Hotel Winters General Manager. “So, if students wanted to participate or if there were extra credits they could apply for training in the restaurant, then we were very excited about partnering with them to do that. We don’t have all the details just yet, but the wheels are definitely turning.”

While the collaboration does include Woodland Community College, the high school end of things would not yield any college credits. Rather, an experiential education similar to students working on the farm at the WHS ag site. Geter said that for the time being, high school students would be hired to work in the kitchen, as servers or as hosts so they can understand what the culinary program is about.

“It could be something where our chef is mentoring them for two to three weeks, or the front of the house is mentoring the servers. It’s just giving them the availability to ask questions and talk about career opportunities. We also want to have fun with it and be community-based,” said Geter.

A long-term goal of the program is to get students work-ready for the real world. The experience gained will put the students who go through the program ahead of others, while giving them a foot in the door at Carboni’s if they come home and are looking for work.

“My favorite part of this collaboration will be the students’ growth. It’s really hard to come out of high school and get your first job when you have no experience, so it’s definitely something that’s an extra push for them to get started in the real world,” said Paola Loupe, Hotel Winters Director of People & Culture. “And also, the famous phrase is to ‘keep it local.’ We have terrific people working here from the community of Winters and we’d like the students to stay and be able to grow in a career and not have to leave because there’s no opportunities for them.”

With the collaboration nearing its start within the next couple months, there will be a lot of knowledge and know-how cooking up in Carboni’s kitchen. WHS students who are interested in the program, or who have questions, should reach out to Loupe or Geter by sending an email to hotelwintershr@hotelwinters.com or inquire in-person at Carboni’s Ristorante at 316 Railroad Ave.

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