Santee High School's C.A.K.E program provides students healthy life lessons

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A lot of schools offer nutrition and fitness programs but Santee High School's C.A.K.E. program provides a real slice of life.

"We teach them how to grow their own food and how to prepare it, how to serve it. And we take them out on catering jobs, so we teach them all the types of life skills that they're going to need for the rest of their life," said the president and founder of C.A.K.E, Melisa Nicola.

C.A.K.E. stands for Culinary Arts Kids Eat. The program is paid for through the catering jobs the program gets, so they get additional business skills, as well as kitchen sense.

"When they walk in the door, they learn how to hold a knife, how to handle themselves in the kitchen, how to organize their life and how to set up a table so they could cook properly," said Nicola.

Chef and instructor Liz Caiaffa teaches cooking principles, including lessons about knowing in depth about the ingredients they use. She asks the students to break them down.

"So breaking it down means breaking it down into what is it that you're eating. What are the nutrients? What are the proteins? What are the antioxidants? Break it down," said Caiaffa.

It is one thing for these kids to learn first-hand to learn the principles of nutrition and how to cook, but they also have to turn what they know into a 4-minute video to help other kids learn as well.

The kids write the script, create the food, and then produce the entire piece!

"Doing this video and all that, we have actually a voice. We're showing the positive side of South Los Angeles," said Santee High student Cheyanne Salas.

The teams take turns participating in fitness or working with food while others makes a short movie that they can show to their peers, addressing the things they feel are important.

"It's a great opportunity to be here because we have opportunities to be, to get scholarships and get into other programs that can maybe give you an idea of what you want to be, become in life," said Guadalupe Morales, Santee High senior.

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