Photo courtesy EPISD

New outdoor kitchen to help Bowie culinary students hone their craft

Students in Bowie’s popular Culinary Arts Program will soon be able to cook the food they grow in their jardín in an outdoor setting right on campus.

The El Paso ISD Board of Trustees last month approved the construction of an outdoor kitchen for Bowie’s growing culinary program to complement to the Jardin, Cocina y Mercado program that has been a mainstay at the school for years.

The project is partially funded through a $40,000 contribution from the Paso del Norte Foundation and includes a medal pergola, prep area, lighting and plumbing.

“The area will be used as not only an extension of the classroom but also to host campus events, such as community seminars,” said Nuri Robles, the Bowie administrator working on the project. “The kitchen will be a welcoming center for us to educate our community on healthy eating and embracing our local agriculture. We are taking the farm-to-table model to maximize our plant science and culinary arts projects.”

Students in the jardín classes grow local vegetation to promote healthier eating and work alongside culinary arts program.

“The goal is to implement a farm-to-table model so as to teach our students and community the benefits and ease of healthy eating habits,” Robles said.

The program started in 2013 in partnership with Paso del Norte and La Semilla Food Center, a local nutrition nonprofit. The jardín sits on the Delta side of the campus offering a variety of vegetation cultivated by students.

“The Jardín, Cocina y Mercado was a response to our community needs,” Robles said. “Students, teachers, and community volunteers came together to create a state-of-the-art garden while partnering with our culinary arts and business programs to educate our students in the benefits of creating life-long healthy habits.  In today’s world of fast food and rising health concerns, fostering positive habits within our youth will lead to life-long benefits.”

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  File art by EPISD