Niles High School culinary arts program selling chocolate strawberries

Published 9:07 am Tuesday, February 12, 2019

NILES — This Valentine’s Day, residents can show some love to their family and friends and support the Niles High School culinary program by purchasing chocolate covered strawberries.

The culinary program is taking orders for chocolate strawberries through 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Each batch comes in a vase and is artfully arranged as a bouquet. Proceeds from the effort will help to support the culinary program. The cost is $25 for a dozen and $15 for half. Orders can be placed by contacting culinary arts teacher Jayson Zoll via email at Zoll said people could also place an order through his Facebook page. The strawberries can be picked up through 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Zoll said the money raised through the Valentine’s Day effort supports a pizza party and an end of the year cookout for seniors. If there are funds left over, the proceeds will be allocated to new equipment for the culinary program.

Students crafting chocolate covered strawberries for their community helps to emphasize lessons about the business side of the culinary industry, Zoll said.

“It gives them an idea of how to make some money,” Zoll said. “We talk about the price and how much the strawberries are. How much the chocolates are. It kind of gives them a different perspective on how to make money in the food service industry.”

Zoll also emphasizes to students the necessity of putting time and care into creating the classic Valentine’s Day treats. He said the chocolate covered strawberries are made fresh on Thursday. Each fruit is coated in chocolate and given a colorful design.

“This is not a rushed activity and that is one thing that we stress,” Zoll said. “Quality over quantity is very important in food service.”

Learning how to make chocolate strawberries has been a culinary arts program tradition that started four to five years ago. Zoll said he and program assistant Sharon Cochran came up with the idea.

Zoll said the popularity of the chocolate strawberries seems to increase each Valentine’s Day.

“Every year it seems to be getting better,” he said.

Due to the popularity, Zoll said he did have to limit the number of orders to 100. So far, he said, there have been 40 orders placed.

Zoll encouraged residents looking for something sweet for their special someone to buy chocolate strawberries from the culinary students.

“It is a learning experience for students, and we put the money back into the program,” Zoll said. “It gives me an opportunity to showcase their work to the public.”