North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Michelin Star restaurant serves up memorable experiences for culinary students

Julie Lear
Students at the Ever Restaurant. This was a field trip where the whole Commercial foods class went and weorkshopped with the chef. They visited the kitchen and the house.

On Jan. 18 students from the Commercial Foods class took a field trip to Ever, a well-renowned Michelin star restaurant.

The students got to tour the restaurant and the kitchen, as well as an interview with the chef! Curtis Duffy, started as a cook and then went on to open his first restaurant – Grace, and then opened up this one. The restaurant is now one of the top restaurants in the world.

This interview was a very rare opportunity for the students, some whom may be thinking about going into the culinary field. 

“It’s really important to expose students to a lot of different levels, different opportunities, just so you can see what is out there. Knowing chef Curtis Duffy, he was in FCCLA the same competition the students are doing currently. He came from a really tough background and it’s amazing how he was able really had a passion for what he was doing. And then you could definitely see that passion turned into that restaurant.” Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Julie Lear said. 

This is one of the many opportunities the culinary students get in the class. Students take field trips to different restaurants, workshop with chefs, and learn a lot from working professionals in the industry.

“Our program is about more than just learning how to cook. It’s about experiencing what the industry is all about. You could take the classes and learn how to cook and just have fun with it. But also, I think it’s just really neat to just get outside the school experience, something that most academic courses are not able to provide you so, the competitive culinary events, the meeting celebrity chefs, the getting out in the community and just having a community experience as part of your learning experience is something that makes this class super unique.” – Culinary Arts Teacher Michael Swiatkiewicz said

The culinary arts department isn’t the only one with this kind of approach, however. This mentor practice is common in almost all fine and applied arts in Niles North High School. The school has always been pretty cooperative and open to new ideas and creativity, whether it’s coming from alumni who went to the school, or reaching out to working professionals for workshops and collaborations on projects. Students are always taking field trips, and there are frequent guests in the many different classes offered by the school. 

The art classes go on field trips every year. They visit to the Art Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Chicago Museum for Contemporary Photography. They have also collaborated Salvage, a vintage resale warehouse and do photography shoots there. They have done tours at the Art Institute, the School of the Art Institute, Columbia College, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. And they participate in a bunch of contests where students are evaluated by colleges based on their portfolios, and that might get scholarship opportunities or like discounted summer programs so they can take college classes.

The dance department has worked a lot with choreographers from Chicago and teachers Joel Hall, William Gill, Duwayne Pendarvis, Jacqueline Sinclair and others.  I also have trained with Ms. Ana Marie Forsythe in pedagogy for the modern dance technique developed by Lester Horton.  (Pedagogy is how to teach something.)

The following choreographers/teachers have set pieces on Auroris for the show and/or have guest taught Auroris or dance classes at North: Marcus Ambubuyog (Alumni), Nicole, Clark-Springer, Kayleigh Dent, Lucas Greeff, Lauryn Schmelzer (Alumni), Keenna Shah (Alumni), Ashland Simone, Connie Sweeney, Kristin Vollmer.

“Stacy Letrice is teaching a guest workshop for us this spring and I’m excited for Auroris to work with her for the first time.” Dance teacher Annaliisa Ahlman said.  

The music departments have also made it their practice to work with working artists and composers. 

Choir has worked with artists including Alyssa Allgood and Kery Marsh. They have also filmed a special with The Grammy Foundation.

One alumni just recently had come back was Kelsey Montana. She is a performing artist in Chicago and she does guitar and like does singer like songwriter type of stuff and she came in did a songwriting workshop with the Viking strings. 

“The best part for students about collaboration with people outside the school, especially with people who want to go into the field of music, is seeing people who are professionals making it in the industry, getting to talk to them about how theyve made it through, what they’ve had to do, and the kind of work it entails. Seeing that theyre real people with real lives that aren’t just these people on pedastols that people seem to make our artists to be.” Choir director Andrew Dahan said. 

Orchestra has recently workshopped with a banjo player named Michael Miles. 

So for him I think the first time I might have met him is that I took a recording this by any chance Yeah. Are you on here? Yeah. Okay. So I took a class at VanderCook College of Music and he was teaching it it was like a folk instrument class where he was teaching guitar and banjo and different things that him after that, I think at one point when I knew I was going to be teaching guitar a long time ago here at Niles north I took some private lessons with him on guitar just so I could like, get better at guitar. And then about eight years ago, we collaborated where he was nice and he played with the symphonic orchestra, and he played here at Niles north, and we also played with him at this place in Chicago called the Poetry Foundation. And then here we are about eight years later, doing another piece the Chicago suite. about yeah, there’s like all sorts of, yeah, it’s eight years since he played here last.” Orchestra Director Jeniffer Page said. 

Lastly the band department! They have had alumni come back to play on concerts such as percussion ensemble and jazz band concerts. There has group called Copeland who came to workshop with the students. Zach Morton, bass trombone player and jazz and orchestra and band teacher out in Moline, Illinois. Joel Vander Heyden, who teaches down in St. Louis, and jazz saxophone player.

There was rwecently a field trip to Oakton Community College, where students worked with faculty, and we worked with some of the jazz faculty at Oakton, as well as just other jazz professionals in the area that were brought in. A Every section of jazz band got a workshop. And they’re all active gigging musicians in the local jazz scene.

Overall Niles North really helps student get into their field and does everything to work with professionals to help them learn more about the field.

“high school is a time to definitely explore, kind of figure out take electives, find out if something might tweaks your interest. And you might discover that you might have a passion for something and then really use that time in high school to explore those. So take those electives.” –  Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Julia Lear said. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Ivan Shalaev
Ivan Shalaev, Reporter
Ivan is a senior at Niles North. Ivan is a part of six music ensembles at school and is also involved in theater.
Edison Wong
Edison Wong, Reporter
Edison is a second semester senior joining North Star News. He likes learning new things and improving his skill upon them. He plays the violin, piano and loves to edit/photoshop.
Ruby Rosenberg
Ruby Rosenberg, Reporter
Ruby is a Junior and this is her first year on North Star News. Ruby loves singing, playing with her corgi Maxine, and hanging out with friends.

Comments (0)

All North Star News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *