Culinary program proves to be a source of comfort during the pandemic

Joseph Finazzo cooks a dish for his Advanced Culinary class. “It’s one of those classes where I can kind of lose myself. I can just be in the kitchen, and he’ll give us something to make. I don’t have to be worrying about a test and I can just be having fun in the kitchen,” sophomore Shay Bednarsh said.

Defne Önal staff writer

According to the Journal of Positive Psychology, people who cook report feeling happier and more relaxed in their daily lives, which explains the onslaught of social media posts featuring loaves of bread, cookies, and cakes during the pandemic. Beverly students experience the same feeling of comfort by participating in the online culinary program. 

“In general, every day is practically the same. Culinary is a good escape. I finally get to practice what I want to do, instead of sit down, and learn what I’m not that interested in,” junior Isaac Colendres said. 

Due to the pandemic, there has been a certain amount of creativity given to students. 

“I mean, we’re just cooking from home now. Chef Leece will send us the recipes a week ahead, and then we buy all the ingredients. Since I’m in Advanced Culinary, it’s kind of like we have more control over what we do. We can change things if we want, and we have a bit more control over everything. He’ll give us some basic directions, and we kind of just take it from there,” junior Joseph Finazzo said. 

Another factor of why culinary brings such joy into students’ lives is sharing the food they make with their families at the end of an online class.

“There’s definitely pros and cons to online teaching. I hate that I can’t try the students’ food, but I think it’s neat for the parents to actually see what the students are doing in the household versus just hearing about it,” Chef Rick Leece said. 

The online format for Intro to Culinary is meant to encourage students to explore their kitchen and be creative. 

“The idea of most of my intro classes is that a lot of those students have never really cooked before. This is, more so, forcing them to explore new areas of their house and get used to working in the kitchen. Not being afraid and just getting that comfort level,” Leece said.

Intro to Culinary students are not let down by the program. Instead, they have generally found it to be a source of fun and relief. 

“Honestly, I love it because it’s what I thought I would enjoy, and I have been enjoying it. I can make what I want to make and it’s fun in that sense. So, I enjoy it. I would absolutely say that I enjoy culinary more than my other classes,” sophomore Shay Bednarsh said. 

The culinary program is a pleasurable way to let off steam for students. 

“Absolutely, I enjoy culinary more than my other classes. Not only, do you get to practice your skills and hone what your skills are, you also get to eat. What culinary is, is an art,” Colendres said. “When it comes to Culinary, it’s a lot but at the same time, it’s one of those things where it’s worth it.”


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