Niles New Tech students create dessert pizza

Published 9:14 am Thursday, February 21, 2019

NILES — Niles New Tech students put a sweet new twist on a Cottage Inn pizza for a class project last semester.

The salted caramel apple pie-zza was created by Taylor Bailey, Tre’vin Mason and Kade Wagley. The recipe was selected out of dozens of other new menu ideas created by students. The dessert pizza is a take on Cottage Inn’s apple pie pizza with the addition of salted caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

The pizza is available for $5.99 for a limited time at the Niles Cottage Inn, 434 S. 11th St. Niles. For each pie purchased in February, the Cottage Inn will donate $1 back to Niles New Tech.

The students came up with the recipe last semester for a class project in their world studies class which is taught by Nicholas Hawley, Kristin Adams-Bondy, Kristine Cooney and Jonathan Smith.

Each student group was assigned a spice from the spice trade. They were tasked with learning about the origin of the spice and using it to create a new menu item. Finally, they had to pitch the idea to officials from Cottage Inn.

“We kind of went with what they already had,” Wagley said. “We were trying to connect that with some original stuff that our grandparents used to make. You think Michigan and you think like taffy or salted taffy, so we were thinking of using salted caramel as the base.”

Niles New Tech’s curriculum seeks to use hands-on learning to teach students new skills, so Taylor said creating something and pitching an idea were not new concepts to them. Seeing a project on the menu was a new experience, however.

“It’s kind of cool, definitely because it is something that we made,” Bailey said.

Mason said he likes that the project involved business partners that could give them constructive feedback.

“I do think it was good for us to practice presenting to an actual board,” Mason said. “Most of the time, it’s just to our teachers.”

Wagley said he could see the business skills he learned from the project, and numerous other Niles New Tech projects, helping him when he pursues a career in graphic design.

“It’s going to be something cool to put on a resume,” he said.

For his part, Hawley said he was glad that the school could continue its partnership with Cottage Inn for the second year in a row. Last year, Cottage Inn partnered with the school and selected a garlic and chicken pizza called the Transylvania Twist as a winner. The pizza went on to win a national corporate contest at Cottage Inn, putting Niles and the school on the map.

“We wanted to continue this partnership and build on the success we had with the Transylvania Twist,” Hawley said. “It allows us to give them that real-world aspect after studying different concepts and then putting everything together.”

Since starting the project last year, Hawley said he enjoys watching students use creativity to make something new.

“It’s cool to see,” he said. “You want the kids to enjoy what they are doing and we have always found that if you are able to tie a business partner or a real-world experience to what they are learning. They get a dynamic opportunity out of it.”