SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Pioneer Valley High School culinary arts students learned how to make Olive Garden's fettuccine alfredo and famous endless breadsticks with the restaurant's general manager when he visited the classroom kitchen.
General manager Leonard Rodriguez brought some "secret ingredients" into the classroom and taught the students how to master the sauces to meet Olive Garden's standards, said Santa Maria Joint Union High School District spokesman Kenny Klein.
“It was a good learning experience to have Leonard from Olive Garden,’’ said Naomi Navarro, a junior at Pioneer Valley.
“He shared his personal experiences and knowledge with us from the business. The fettuccine alfredo was so delicious and it tasted just like Olive Garden!”
Rodriguez taste-tested each sauce and selected a winner whose sauce was the most similar to Olive Garden in taste, texture, and consistency from each class period. He talked with the students about the cost of waste for Olive Garden.
Olive Garden has been a partner with the high school for several years, providing hands-on experience and tours of the restaurant, Klein said.
“We are very fortunate to have Olive Garden as an industry partner,’’ said Panther Culinary Arts-Family and Consumer Science Teacher Jenn Montanez. “The students really enjoyed this opportunity to meet with Leonard and make an Olive Garden recipe.”