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    During the summer, many high schoolers can be found sleeping in late. Not the students participating in Sullivan University’s Culinary Camp. They can be found in the kitchen, cooking up homemade andouille sausage.

    The equipment is professional. The hands using it are not… yet. The 50 or so high school students attending the week-long camp this summer have aspirations to work in the culinary world. While the campers are expected to follow proper kitchen etiquette, the chefs leading the camp aim for an atmosphere in which everyone feels comfortable to learn.

    "One girl told me she thought it'd be like 'Hell's Kitchen,'" Sullivan culinary instructor Chef Katie Payne said. "But then she realized it was more relaxed than that."

    There are students not only from Louisville, but also other states, including Michigan and Ohio. They’re all getting a chance to develop their skills and make career decisions this summer. Campers have the chance to get the “full college experience” by staying in Sullivan’s dorms and visiting places around Louisville.

    Chef Katie Payne instructs a camper on how to cut and prepare pork when making sausage.

    Travis Vanlinger is a 17-year-old from Taylorsville. He heard about the camp after a rep from Sullivan visited his high school. “I’m honestly having so much fun right now,” Vanlinger said as he cut pork for his sausage. “I could never do this type of stuff at home.”

    Chef instructors from Sullivan guide the students to where they can find the right spices and ingredients for their food. Ann Currie is a personal private chef and helps out at the camp. She also tutors culinary students during the school year. Currie graduated from Sullivan’s culinary program in 2011, after she returned to school following a 20-year teaching career. “Going to culinary school was always one of my dreams,” Currie said. “It was not a possibility when I was [the campers’] age.”

    A student prepares pork to put in the meat grinder.

    Many of the students at the camp have at least some prior culinary experience. Programs like Western High School’s Culinary Arts major mean the field is becoming accessible for more students. The Sullivan culinary camp gives priority to rising juniors and seniors in high school so they have the opportunity to make career decisions. “This is definitely what I want to do [for a career],” Vanlinger said. “I most definitely would want to come [to Sullivan].”

    Sullivan is consistently listed as one of the best culinary schools in the country, on websites such as The Best Schools, EDinformatics and Full-Service RestaurantsNational Geographic named Louisville the top “foodie city” in America and other food sites are starting to notice Louisville as well. With all this, it’s no wonder Sullivan has become a destination school for culinary arts.

    The culinary camp is only offered one week during the summer. A Baking and Pastry Arts camp is offered as well. More information can be found here.

    Margo Morton's picture

    About Margo Morton

    Ball State journalism and sociology student. Born and raised in Louisville and wouldn't have it any other way.

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