LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Students at Western High School in Louisville had the chance to explore career options and education in the culinary field while celebrating Black History Month.

What You Need To Know

  • Western High School hosted Louisville area restaurants for culinary demonstrations 

  • The event gave students the opportunity to explore the restaurant industy 

  • Six area chefs and restaurants came to the school on Feb. 22 to showcase their menus and field questions from students

  • Western has its own culinary program, making it a perfect pairing for the showcase

The school hosted six area chefs and restaurants on Feb. 22, tasting several cultural cuisines.

“I’m sweating,” Cornealius Townsend said while standing over his station of classroom-cooked soul food. The 20-year-old is a student in the Sullivan University Culinary Arts program in Louisville.

“Are you interested in joining culinary?” Townsend asked as he served high schoolers samples of his friend chicken, mac-and-cheese and greens.

Not only is the Jeffersonville native showing his cooking acumen, he’s introducing Western High School students to culinary careers. “As a young Black chef, I like to make it out in this world and show other people that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it,” Townsend shared.

Western High School has its own culinary arts program. (Spectrum News 1/Jonathon Gregg)

Townsend said he was in good company. “We’ve got some Soul Food going on right now...We also got other chefs around the whole building currently just to represent,” he noted.

Across the room from Townsend was Robert Lopez, the senior executive chef at Churchill Downs. “We’re here at Western looking for potential new employees to help us with our culinary operation for our Derby 150 coming up,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the industry continues to recover from COVID setbacks. “The culinary industry the past couple of years, especially since Covid, has been brought down in multiple ways and to get back out in the community, especially in areas that may not know there is an opportunity in the culinary industry, is tremendous and it helps reignite that talent and that passion in a lot of these younger folks,” he explained.

That’s why Western’s culinary program makes the perfect pairing for the event.

“It’s hard,” student Bradley Horne said. “You’ve got to be fast-paced when it comes to the culinary industry, but it’s definitely fun, something I would recommend.” And a good recommendation is always appreciated.

Other restaurants representing Louisville’s food scene during Western’s event included Le Moo, Barry’s Cheesesteaks and NuLu Restaurants, Inc.