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Welcome to the Life Skills Bistro

Mallery Perry, photographer
Originally published March 29, 2016


Photo by Mallery PerrySwanson clearing the leftover food off of the dirty plates and stack- ing them for the dish washer. The staff continues their jobs as they wash and clean the apartment after the lunch, making sure that the apartment is as clean…

Photo by Mallery Perry

Swanson clearing the leftover food off of the dirty plates and stack- ing them for the dish washer. The staff continues their jobs as they wash and clean the apartment after the lunch, making sure that the apartment is as clean as when they started.

The Life Skills Bistro is a program founded by teachers Emily Turner and Robin Madness. It is designed to help community based training program students at the school learn and perform standard restaurant skills.

“The students have specialized needs and it helps them learn in a realistic environment. [It’s] good for job skills, nutrition balance, meal planning and grocery lists. That all helps them as adults,” Turner said.

The program kickstarted this school year, after a few years of Turner hoping to make it happen.

“The reason I really enjoy this program is because there is something for everyone to do. Some of the kids with the most significant needs get to participate through grocery shopping. We give them a list and they get to go find the ingredients,” Turner said. Students start planning and preparing throughout the week, and students start cooking and plating the meals from third period to lunch time.


Pepper Swanson holding basil to be added to their homemade pesto. The chefs get to practice their math skills and multitasking skills as they acquire and measure the ingredients for their sauce.

Pepper Swanson holding basil to be added to their homemade pesto. The chefs get to practice their math skills and multitasking skills as they acquire and measure the ingredients for their sauce.


The team improvises an assembly line while they rush in an- ticipation of arriving guests. This is one example of how they work together to make the restaurant as efficient as it can be.

The team improvises an assembly line while they rush in an- ticipation of arriving guests. This is one example of how they work together to make the restaurant as efficient as it can be.


Ian Howie bussing Ellie Robbins’ salad plate. The staff waits patiently as teachers eat their meals.

Ian Howie bussing Ellie Robbins’ salad plate. The staff waits patiently as teachers eat their meals.


Barerra Lopez seating Principal Keven Wynkoop and handing him the menu of the day.

Barerra Lopez seating Principal Keven Wynkoop and handing him the menu of the day.

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Welcome to the Life Skills Bistro