ASHEBORO, NC (WGHP) — At Southwestern Randolph High School, the halls are filled with the sweet smells of baking.
For the 7th year, students in Kelly Biggs culinary arts classes are fulfilling the orders of hundreds of community members and baking pies for their Thanksgiving meals. They make five different kinds of pies. Pumpkin, sweet potato, chocolate chip, chocolate chip with walnuts, pecan and Dutch apple crumb.
They say the hardest part isn’t staying away from sampling the goods…but a skill they had to acquire.
“Definitely rolling out the pies is kind of hard because they’re cold. Getting them a nice circle is, it’s a nerve wracking.” But the results are definitely worth it, says Amin El Guermat. “It’s so good. I mean, I gave a lot of pies to all my family. They all liked it,” he says.
He is an exchange student from Morocco. All of this, he says, is new to him.
“It’s so cool because I’ve never had the experience to celebrate Thanksgiving, and especially, I’ve never had the experience to have, culinary class in Morocco,” says El Guermat. “So it’s so cool to have it, especially with Miss Biggs. She’s a great teacher.”
Her love of what she does shows.
“I enjoy teaching the kids how to do these things and the fact that we get to do it every year and kind of grow is, it makes you happy to see your program grow and the kids go out in the community and tell their families to order pies or their churches to order pies, that kind of thing.”
This year, she got her family involved too.
“The cool thing is my two little boys, and my dad grew an entire field of pumpkins for us. So, we have homegrown pumpkins and the kids got to cut up and roast and puree all of it. So we really went stright homemade on the pumpking this year too.”
The profits from the pies that are sold continue to help students learn.
“All of our money goes back into the program here. We use it for culinary and management competitions if they decide to compete. We use it for field trips and we use it for just program upgrades and things like that. And more labs for them,” Biggs said.
The whole time they are they are baking; they are learning.
“We cost every pie down to the last teaspoon sugar inside of it to see every year where I can get the cheapest ingredients at,” says Biggs. “How much these pie’s gonna cost and see how much we can charge for ’em. The more expensive ones the less expensive one. It all works out that way. They do a lot of math with converting recipes, so they’ll make, like when they were making earlier, they had two pies in the mixer at a time. So they have to change recipe up for that. So there’s a lot of math involved. They don’t realize in the beginning they’re doing all that math. I think that the fact that it gets to be food at the end is a lot easier for you to do math, yet, not only that, they have sworn teamwork, time management, all these fun things that they love to hear me say.”
And even after they have baked pie after pie and smelled the sweet smells day after day, the students say they will definitely be looking forward to eating pie on Thanksgiving day.