Students attending the Ben Barber Innovation Academy in Mansfield are preparing for a major statewide college competition next week, the first since the pandemic began.
Knives at school attract everyone’s attention. but razor-sharp tools are an essential part of this class where excuses are not tolerated and expectations are high.
“It’s my second year. I started last year after playing football,” said Travis Hill, who swapped his helmet for a hairnet and never looked back after joining the culinary program at her school.
The kitchen and the terrain weren’t much different for Travis.
“We train every day,” he said. “It’s an endless amount of knowledge to learn in the kitchen. I learned a lot.”
Students learn at different levels. The day we visited it was blueberry muffins for starters, steak for Travis, and then there was Logan.
“We study restaurant management, building a concept for a restaurant, a floor plan, the menu, and even marketing tactics,” said Logan Ceraul, another student in the program.
The kid who loved watching YouTube videos of people cooking wants to develop new flavors for a company one day.
There’s a place for everyone at the Ben Barber Innovation Academy at Mansfield ISD where the goal is to groom the next generation of front and back of house restaurant chefs.
Chef David Roberson runs the program and went to accounting school, but he always knew it wasn’t something he would enjoy.
He fell in the kitchen, after playing football, just like his student Travis.
The group won state competitions in 2019 in cooking and management – a first in more than 10 years.
They return there next week to try again in the first competition since the pandemic.