More about WOWS

Behind the Food
Chef Levin and Ms. Tara Savino

Culinary Arts 

The Culinary Arts Program at Milford High School is in full swing. For those of you unfamiliar with our program the facility includes a complete industrial kitchen, a fifty-seat dining room, and a take-out window open to the dining room on one side and the cafeteria on another. There is an entrance to the street facing the front of the building with limited parking. We have reconfigured the area that was previously used primarily for baking to accommodate 20 workstations. The student workstations are equipped with induction units, small wares, and tools to facilitate skill building and stools for related classroom activities. The instructor's workstation is set up for live demonstrations and technology for use in related classroom education.

Our restaurant “Windows On West Street" (WOWs) is about to open to the public. We have been selling soups, salads, sandwiches, and dessert items to teachers through the window in the cafeteria. Next week we will attempt full service in the dining room. Please check out our website to view our hours and menu selections. All of our products are prepared by our students and all of our services are provided by students as well. In addition to WOWs, we are offering catered event services. So far this year we have provided sandwiches for the Rotary, Chile for the Beaverbrook Association, Cookies for Parents Night, and Dinner for the Souhegan Lions Club in Temple. The Lions Club is an ongoing event (the second Thursday of the month for as long as we can do it. For this event, I would like to bring 4 students with me to prepare, produce, serve, and break down the event. The hours will be 4:00 pm to about 9:00 pm. This is strictly voluntary but students will get extra credit and be well fed. I will send home a permission slip with students who wish to “do this job”.

The program is currently using the second edition Foundations of Restaurant Management Level One and Level Two curriculum from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. This includes textbooks, Teachers Companion, Student Activity Guide, and various additional resources such as Slide Presentations and an Exam Generator. The NRAEF is our current Third Party Certifier. The program is also able to offer ServeSafe Certification.

The Culinary 1 students have begun the school year with an introduction to the Hospitality Industry and a Baking unit. Every Culinary I student has been introduced to knife skills and safety and has been practicing those skills cutting vegetables and boning out chickens. They have cut mirepoix for stock, soup, and sauce production. Baking is probably the safest hands-on unit to start with sans knife work but does require students to be very accurate with measurement skills.  At the same time, they are currently working their way through the Kitchen Safety,  Food Safety, and Sanitation units. Next, they will be introduced to the concept of “As Purchased” (AP) and “Edible Portion” and yield percentage. 

Production is a very important aspect of our program but not the driver. This program will be driven by competency attainment and concentrator status. It will maintain a focus on ”All Aspects of the Industry” and the Milford School District’s “Portrait of a Graduate”. There is no question that production is a vital component of a culinary program and necessary for skill-building and developing a full understanding of industry standards and management functions. 

The Culinary 2 students have begun the year with the level 2 baking unit and they are working their way through cost control. Next will be Breakfast Cookery, Menu Planning and Marketing. I am very familiar with this group as I have had every one of them as culinary 1 students.  I very much look forward to working with this group as they continue to learn and grow and I expect a lot of them both in the back and the front of the house. In the front of the house, we are looking at getting a new POS system. The students will likely be teaching me how to use this technology.  

May I introduce myself? I am a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, a former restaurant owner, and hold a master's Degree in Educational Administration. This is my tenth year teaching here in Milford, I  maintain close relationships with the State Restaurant Association, post-secondary institutions, and local businesses. I have sat on the Certification Governing Board of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. I have and will continue to coach/manage both Culinary Competition teams and Destination Imagination teams for Milford. I am hoping to field a strong culinary competition team this year. Call me Chef.

We were recently visited by the Running Start coordinator from Nashua Community College. Running Start is a program that offers college credit to students in this culinary program. Ask your student for information about this as they should have brought home paperwork concerning this program. I am also looking for some students and parents to join our Program Advisory Committee to work alongside the postsecondary teachers and industry professionals who meet twice a year to support and advise our program. I hope your student is enjoying this program and is cooking for you at home. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out.

Chef Levin

[email protected]


Kitchen Pic
"It is great that the MHS is reopening Windows on West Street.
Last year the 'bowl and  a roll' was fantastic,  and I look forward  to the soup selections  coming soon,
this year."
~ Darren Fleury
"I just want to thank  Chef Mike for the  wonderful food his  students are preparing.  It's nice to have the  quiches available and  all the rest of the food  for consumption and  purchase!"
~ Jill Larro