There’s a new group of chefs in Flandreau who can cook steak to perfection.
Twenty culinary arts students from Flandreau High School last week finished a unit on healthy habits by pan frying steaks donated by the Flandreau Locker. From seasoning to temperature checks, they made the skillet version of steak, something none had done before.
“Every year, that’s one of the things everyone wants to make. We have never had the opportunity to make steak before,” said teacher Jamie Fryslie. The students were in grades 10-12. “Quite a few had never made steak, or if they had made steaks, it was just on the grill. For many students, this was their first opportunity to make a steak and work with seasonings.”
For a few students, it was their first chance to eat a steak, too, said Jennifer Hayford, 4-H youth program adviser. “It’s important to know those things and where food comes from,” she said. It also teaches students what they will need to know when ordering beef at a restaurant.
The diverse group of students were interested in learning from each other what types of meals they cook at home and what types of seasonings they use, she said.
For the eight-hour program, Hayford got a Teen Cuisine grant for $10 per student through the South Dakota State Extension from the Walmart Foundation. Additional support came from the Moody County 4-H program. Each student received a workbook, and she taught two lessons online and two in person at the school.
When the locker donated six different cuts of steaks, enough for each student to have one, Hayford taught about the cuts, the characteristics and where each came from on the animal. Students were able to look at all of the cuts to see what marbling looks like and how it makes a difference in tenderness.
In addition to steak, students made baked chicken nuggets that they breaded with a cornflake crust, baked fries cut from potatoes, a Waldorf salad with a yogurt dressing, yogurt fruit and veggie dip, omelettes with mushrooms and peppers, an herbed snack mix and apple crisp using whole wheat flour.
The lessons were designed to show that healthier choices, which are good for you nutritionally, also can taste good, Hayford said. “I think it’s important because they don’t realize that we can make healthy things we can enjoy.”
Because they students said they liked Mt. Dew soda pop, she showed them that the beverage has a half cup of sugar it in, based on reading the nutrition label.
Junior Cade LeBrun said he had fun cooking different things and working in groups with his friends.
“I just think it was a lot of fun to do this. I got a lot out of it,” he said.
While steak was his favorite lesson – he cooked his medium well – he also liked the chicken nuggets as well as any he has eaten at restaurants.
“Fast food is good, but I thought this is pretty good, too. This is a healthier version,” he said. He has told his mom he will cook something for her at home. “I think I’m going to make some chicken nuggets. We made French fries, too.”
The students also got a lesson in serving sizes and choosing foods from all food groups. When they were given grocery ads and told to cut out what they would eat for their ideal meal, many chose steaks but also added in pizza, cookies and pop to drink.
Hayford served frozen vegetables with their steaks, showing that protein and vegetables can make a healthy meal.
The student response to the different foods was phenomenal, Hayford said. They liked everything, even foods like the Waldorf salad and the mushrooms in the omelettes, which she wasn’t sure they would eat.
“They really enjoyed sitting together and having a meal together and talking about it,” she said. “They were so much fun.”