What do these three things have in common? Larry Singer, 1994 Iola High graduate.
Student and player really come first for Singer. It was football that started him on his path to higher education. Singer played high school and junior college football. He left that behind for education in hotel management at Kansas State University, then went to Johnson & Wales for culinary arts. That got him to his ultimate goal — being a chef.
Singer, son of Dee and Glen Singer of Iola, has gone full circle sort of — he is back to education and football. He has credentials in both fields.
Singer was on the two-time Jayhawk Conference champion football team at Garden City Community College, playing in a bowl game. He graduated magna cum laude from Johnson & Wales.
In a recent article in the Napa Valley Register of Napa, Calif., Singer and his culinary class at American Canyon High School were featured. Singer is teaching culinary arts and is the freshman football coach.
Singer has worked in several restaurants in California as a chef since 2002. He still is a chef but as of this year he is teacher and coach to high school students.
Singer told the Napa Valley Register, “I’m teaching this (class) like they’re going to go work at a restaurant. This valley is run on food and wine.”
American Canyon High School is a new school with only sophomores and freshmen this year. Next year another class of freshmen will push it to juniors, sophomores and freshman and by 2012-2013 it will be a four-year school.
This new high school also comes with a culinary class kitchen. It is no run-of-the-mill home economics class kitchen.
Students are given roles as if working in a commercial kitchen — executive chef, chef de partie, chef de cuisine. They rotate through the roles.
Of course, Singer is always Chef Singer. He has worked as a chef at Auberge du Doleil, Redd and Oenotri — restaurants in the Napa Valley.
The Napa Register said, while learning to cook gnocchi the students were told by Singer, “I can’t tell you how much flour. Gnocchi are all by feel.”
Singer is helped with classes by his wife, Marta, who is the class culinary aide.
Singer explained that perfection in cooking takes practice.
“They (the students) can go home and cook for their families. Families make really good guinea pigs.”
A MORE RECENT IHS football player earned an honor last weekend.
Kyler Thompson, a freshman who was redshirted at Pittsburg State this season, was voted by his Pitt State teammates defensive player of the year for the PSU scout team. Thompson, a 2010 IHS graduate, is a linebacker and worked against the Gorilla varsity in practices.