EVERETT — Josh Heath, 18, is a senior at Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center, where he’s taking classes in culinary arts and animation. Before starting at Sno-Isle last year, he was homeschooled and he gained a passion for cooking, whipping up family recipes. In his off-time, you can find him putting that passion to practice at Buck’s American Cafe.
Question: What brought you to Sno-Isle?
Answer: Growing up, my mom more “unschooled” me than homeschooled. She would give us the textbooks and walk us through them, but she said, “If you ever want to learn something, I’ll give you the tools necessary.” So I heard about Sno-Isle through some friends at homeschool co-op. My mom helped me look into it and pretty soon I was enrolled last year.
Q: Why did you decide to take animation?
A: I’ve always wanted to learn to draw and Lee Anne (Lumsden) was very welcoming. Lee Anne’s the animation teacher. She helped me get situated.
Q: Do you have favorite artists or animators?
A: I did grow up watching Disney movies. That was pretty much my childhood, just a lot of Disney movies and musicals.
Q: Which movies?
A: Pretty much most of them. There was this list on Facebook that had a bunch of Disney movies, and there were like six that I hadn’t seen (out of 58).
Q: Did you grow up cooking?
A: My mom has certain family dishes she does at Christmas and holidays. I would bug her each year to let me help out. My great great aunt, she had passed away a couple of years back, but she had left her recipes to my mom. My mom is in charge of making those.
Last year, my mom finally let me help make the fudge. We do old-fashioned crock-pot fudge. It is the best fudge I’ve ever had. Granted, I haven’t had a lot of fudge.
Q: What do you do in the culinary class?
A: The first month we go through safety and sanitation. … We also run a snack bar, which the other students can come down and order snacks. We have some prepackaged stuff, but then we also have things like smoothies and breakfast burritos.
And this year, the chef is also having us make pretzels. We’re also incorporating food specials, which I can’t wait, because we’re doing cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting as well as caramel apples.
He’s doing two this month because it’s Halloween and the caramel apples are the Halloween thing. The sprinkles are going to be black and orange.
Q: Have you had a favorite dish that you’ve made at Sno-Isle?
A: I think my favorite thing to prep in the class would be the cookie dough. I can’t eat the cookies. Last year I would be making a batch of cookie dough and I would go scoop it.
Everybody loved the cookie dough in the classroom, so they would all stop by with their little tasting spoons, taking a glob of it. I was like, I don’t have a batch of cookie dough now! I had like half a batch left because everyone would take these giant globs.
But that was fun making cookie dough last year.
Q: You said you can’t eat cookies?
A: No. I can’t have gluten, because it is not pleasant to me . … I haven’t had a doughnut in over five years.
Q: It seems like it’s hard to make gluten-free food.
A: Lots of people get it wrong and, not necessarily to brag, but my family does it right.
Q: What do you want to do next?
A: I’m currently working at Buck’s American Cafe, but I’m looking into (a culinary program).
My goal is to stay at my job until I’m 23. That way I can get a little bartending experience and talk to my chef, so that way I can learn what connections I need, because I will eventually open my own restaurant.
I haven’t decided on the style yet, but I do know it’s going to be cozy.
Q: What do you do at the cafe?
A: I’m cross-trained all over the restaurant. I’m a dishwasher, a line cook and a busser. Prep cook is kind of incorporated into busser and line cook, because if we have time, we have time to prep ….
When I’m bussing, I get to wear my suspenders though. I’m homeschooled, so I get joy out of a lot of simple things.