Featured Student: Sahana Petras
Featuring some of our communities' great students.
Bay High senior Sahana Petras sees cooking as much more than a way to satisfy a hungry family. She studies culinary arts for part of her school day at the West Shore Career-Technical District, housed at Lakewood High School. She was recently awarded the Outstanding Student Award in Culinary Arts by the Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary Club.
Sahana is inspired to study culinary arts by her mother and her godmother. “My mother is a very creative cook, and she makes delicious, colorful and unique meals, not necessarily from a recipe. She’ll just see what we ingredients we have on hand and put something wonderful together. And my godmother taught me many dishes, like Chicken Curry, from her Filipino culture. I cook Indian, German and Irish dishes for my family, and I enjoy that my cooking can also express my love of culture.”
She says her parents, Stephen and Colleen Petras, are very supportive of her passion for cooking and that their faith in her makes her want to succeed.
“Cooking lets you express yourself with color and design. In a professional kitchen you share responsibility and you show what you can handle. I enjoy that.”
Sahana also enjoys the cooking competitions in which she’s taken part. She worked with a team of fellow students competing against 26 other school teams in the ProStart Invitational held at the Columbus Convention Center in February. “It really was like the cooking competitions you see on TV,” she said. The team had to prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes and was evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.
She also participated in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) competition, making an appetizer while her team of classmates made an entree and dessert. She will compete solo this year, making a small appetizer, or Garda Manger.
Sahana works weekends at the French restaurant, Le Bistro du Beaujolais, in Olmsted Falls, and she is already assisting the head chef with appetizers and desserts.
In addition to cooking, Sahana plays the piano. She has been a cheerleader at Bay High and participated in the school’s girls tennis and girls track programs. She also helps out with the young children at St. Raphael’s Church and participates in a youth ministry group.
“I like working with younger children and students with disabilities,” she says. “I would like to combine cooking with helping others. Cooking can give kids confidence and builds responsibility. It lets them know they are there for a reason and that they can find their place in the world.”
Sahana will attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., next year. She credits her program at the West Shore Career-Technical District for preparing her to succeed in the nation’s premier cooking school. “The teachers at West Shore make sure we get what we need to succeed,” she said. “They push us.”
Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District