In the Kitchen

A look into the Culinary Arts Program with Kristen Fink.


   A new culinary arts program was born in the 2018-2019 school year. Previously just a semester-long Food Prep and Nutrition class, the course is now a four year long program. As students progress into the program, they become more comfortable cooking. Along with cooking, basics in the culinary field are taught. Fink introduced this program to get everyone out of their shell when it comes to cooking. 

          “I want the kids to have a good time, but I also want to get them away from processed foods and to be able to cook for themselves pretty decent meals and be comfortable in the kitchen so they don’t have to rely on take-out,” Fink said. 

     In high school, she was a phenomenal student. Keeping up with her good grades yet still made time for sports. She played tennis, softball, and bowling in high school, and today she is on an adult kickball team, adult slow-pitch softball team, and plays golf. Fink also enjoys going on her boat, fishing, and spending quality time with her family, just like any other mom. Outside of school, she has a bakery business, which she likes to do on the side for others.  

             “I was your goody-two-shoes, bookworm, straight-A student,” Fink said.

     After living in New York most of her life, Fink moved to Florida to teach at Hinson Middle School. After seven years of teaching at Hinson, she started teaching here. 

            “My husband was actually teaching down the road at Lake Mary High and mentioned there was an opening here and I wanted to upgrade from middle school to high school level,” Fink said. 

     Fink always wanted to teach for as long as she could remember. The moment that made her realize she wants to be a culinary teacher, was her Health & Home Eck teachers. She describes them as “very influential.” Once it clicked that she wanted to be a culinary teacher, she was very set on this career path. 

            “I’ve always wanted to teach. I can remember way back into the sixth grade that I definitely wanted to teach but I had no idea what I wanted to do until I was in high school and I actually had Health and Home Eck, and those two teachers were very influential to me. And so, I got a Health and Home Eck degree and then did more into the culinary aspect,” Fink said. 

    COVID-19 was a setback for everyone, especially teachers. Teachers, including Fink, had to make adjustments to their teaching to accommodate everyone. Since COVID, Fink has put more resources online ahead of time but now has to reteach those that were home. 

            “In general, it was kind of a slight setback, where I felt like those stuck at home really lost the advantage of working in the kitchen and being in the kitchen. So it’s kind of having to do a little restart again to get them back into the groove of the process,” Fink said. 

     The culinary program has impacted many student’s lives. It is a great class to teach you basic life skills. Even if you just take Culinary 1, you can still walk out of there knowing how to cook most foods. 

          “By Culinary 4, everyone is more relaxed in the kitchen,” Fink said.