San Benito High School has found a new culinary arts teacher in local restaurateur Mike Fisher of Fisher’s restaurant in Hollister.
“Mike is a valued member of the community already and his desire to help grow the culinary community in Hollister is undeniable,” said Julie Carriere, career technical education program specialist at San Benito High School.
Noticing a lack of qualified younger people in the service industry and coming from a family of educators himself, Fisher decided to apply for the open culinary position at San Benito High.
Noting that he was more geared toward a trade than academics while in high school, Fisher said he wanted to help students like himself.
“I have to make sure they learn as much as they can,” Fisher said. “I want to work with all student populations to help highlight their strengths. Everyone has different talents, strengths, and weaknesses.”
Fisher also hopes to grow the culinary program at the high school so students can learn skills to apply at home and in a professional setting.
“At the end of Culinary 1, I am hoping they are going to cook more often for themselves at home as opposed to eating junk food,” Fisher said. “After Culinary 2, I hope they’d look to tourism and hospitality as a career path or immediate job.”
Though there is no Culinary 3 class at the school this year, Fisher sees the prospect of adding it to the program and using it to introduce students to a professional environment by catering for school events.
Carriere supports Fisher’s vision, saying “Students will have a more realistic view of life in a kitchen. The course is also now open to all grades at the high school, not just upperclassmen. This will allow Mike to build a strong program from the word go.”
Part of building a strong program, Fisher said, is helping students develop their work ethic while introducing them to the industry. It’s a matter of helping them “grow through challenges.”
Asked how he feels about returning to his alma mater, Fisher said, “One of the coolest feelings is walking around campus and having kids yell, ‘Hey Chef.’ The kids so far are responding well.”