Kenai Central High School Culinary Students roll out dough for Christmas cookies as part of bake sale preparation on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central High School Culinary Students roll out dough for Christmas cookies as part of bake sale preparation on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Guest chefs ready to help

High school culinary students will do holiday baking for you

The Kenai Central High School culinary program is taking a unique approach to this year’s holiday bake sale by inviting the public to outsource their holiday baking to the local student bakers. Instead of browsing for baked goods, interested buyers can download and submit an order form for exactly which and how many desserts they need.

The order form can be downloaded from the Kenai Central High School Facebook page or picked up at the school’s front office. It features three choices each for cake, pie and cookies.

Interested buyers can select a pickup date, which items they want and in what quantities, then turn the form into the front office. The finished baked goods can be picked up from the school on Dec. 2, 9 and 16, meaning there’s still time to bring home a KCHS-baked pumpkin pie for Christmas. Orders must be placed 48 hours before the pickup date.

Culinary instructor Matthew James said the bake sale is a fundraiser for the culinary program. Students enrolled in the program pay a lab fee, but it doesn’t cover the groceries the way it used to because of rising prices, he said.

“In the first two weeks, we made over $800,” James said. “We have three weeks to go.”

Of the nine items on the menu, James said everything is selling, though he had a particular fondness for the carrot cake.

Baking goods for local families has been exciting for his students, he said.

Similar excitement has been coming from the community as well. James said folks purchasing baked goods from the culinary program are getting quality seasonal treats — the same pastries they might otherwise purchase from the store — and putting their money into their local school.

On Tuesday, students were hard at work in the culinary room’s kitchen, making and flattening dough for mass production of dozens of cookies ahead of this week’s pickup.

Mixers were running, James was showing students optimal rolling pin technique, and refrigerators were being filled entirely with flattened sheets of dough — set to be cut into festive shapes on Wednesday.

McKenzie Spence, one of the student bakers, said it’s been fun to be a part of the sale and to see the community showing up and bringing in money for the program. Though she’s a freshman, and this is her first year with the KCHS culinary program, she said she did two years of foods and nutrition at Kenai Middle School.

“I also do a lot of baking at home,” she said.

She said it was fun to hand the baked goods out directly to their purchasers on the pickup days.

The bakers are becoming a part of the community’s holiday festivities by making the pies, cakes and cookies that will be part of their celebrations.

“We are a little part of that because we made them,” Spence said. “I hope they are good, too, because it’s pretty cool to see everybody come and buy stuff from here.”

Spence said that her favorite thing — both available to eat and to bake — were the cakes. The cakes available are chocolate fudge, chocolate peanut butter and carrot cake.

Pumpkin, apple and pecan pies are available, as well as chocolate chip, M&M’S and sugar cookies.

For more information on the KCHS Bake Sale, visit Kenai Central High School’s Facebook page.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Kenai Central High School culinary students roll out dough for Christmas cookies as part of bake sale preparation on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central High School culinary students roll out dough for Christmas cookies as part of bake sale preparation on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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