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Culinary Arts students at PVHS are getting a first-hand look at how a restaurant handles food production in an effort to help them prepare and earn a ServSafe Managers Certificate.

The certificate, which is valid for five years, involves an exam about a variety of important safety standards that must be followed in the kitchens of food establishments, according to teacher Jenn Montanez.

This week, 13 students broke into groups and followed a Santa Maria Olive Garden manager around. They observed the manager accepting produce from their vendor, checking temperatures on a variety of food items, checking chemicals levels in sanitizing solutions and other duties. Another group of students will have the same experience on Dec. 17.

“Going to the Olive Garden gave me a behind the scenes experience of food preparation,’’ said senior Noah Guzman. “It opened my eyes to how much work and time goes into a business. Students like me getting to be in the kitchen with professionals was an amazing way to spend the day. I enjoyed this experience and it personally gave me insight on how I want to spend my future of wanting to be a chef.”

“I felt like our culinary trip to the Olive Garden was an overall amazing opportunity,’’ said Kailey Anaya, who is in the 11th grade. “We are currently working on our ServSafe training, so I feel letting us be able to actually see how a kitchen properly runs and how they follow ServSafe guidelines was a great learning experience for each and every one of us. I also thank all the managers for allowing us and showing us around their company, we loved it!”

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