Chef-to-School Specialty Dinners

Work with local chefs and restaurants to compose menus of their signature dishes. Prepare the food and serve it to the local community one evening.


  • Essential Question: Is there more to executing a successful meal service than just the ability to cook?
  • Area(s) of Study: Culinary Arts, Restaurant Management
  • Amount of credit earned: Group ELO embedded in a two-credit, full-year, double period elective class. ELO work makes up about a quarter of the course work.
  • Community Partners: chefs from local restaurants


  • Food safety and sanitation – understand the basic principles of sanitation and safety to protect the health of the consumer.
  • Dining room service – be knowledgeable in dining room service functions, different types of services, and quality customer service.
  • Restaurant management – understand importance of a chef’s proficiency in purchasing and receiving practices, employee management, communication, and other soft skills.
  • Food and beverage cost controls – understand basic mathematical functions and their applications in various foodservice operations.

See the detailed ELO description for the full text of these competencies.

Student Activities

  1. Marketing strategy research and development for ticket sales – draft press releases and social media postings to best capture what guests can expect and how to reserve tickets.
  2. Recipe and menu costing – break down the recipe ingredient costs to determine what the total cost to produce one portion is. Then, determine an appropriate menu price.
  3. Development of ingredient order guides – convert recipes to the quantity needed before developing a cumulative list of all of the products needed, checking it against current inventory, and determining what needs to be ordered to execute the meal.
  4. Organization, preparation, and execution of menu items – create prep lists and assignments for all of the goods needing to be produced.
  5. Dining room preparations and classical service – table setting, table service, dining room break down.
  6. Customer service and dining room management
  7. Sanitation regulations and implementation
  8. Proper food handling practices (ServSafe)


The final project and presentation of this activity is a full-scale restaurant service. Students are responsible for all aspects of the restaurant including, but not limited to, dining room service, general manager duties, line cook, dishwasher, sous chef, sanitation inspector, and bakers. The students also produce a post-service reflection that focuses on what they saw as successful as well as concepts and strategies to focus on improving in their next service.

More information

The Chef to School group ELO not only strengthens our students, but also our relationship with local businesses and the community as a whole. Students gain invaluable knowledge through real-life situations that can be challenging to implement and develop in a standard class period. Local chefs, restaurants, and postsecondary educational institutions compose a menu of their signature dishes and work with Pinkerton’s culinary students in the preparation and execution of the dishes during the students’ normal class periods. That evening, the menu is presented and served to members of the Pinkerton community, parents, and public.

This ELO was submitted by Keith Desjardin, Culinary Manager and Chef Instructor at Pinkerton Academy. Email Keith for more information