School Bulletin: Nifty Nibble serves food and life lessons

School Bulletin: Nifty Nibble serves food and life lessons

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- For nearly 50 years, Nifty Nibble has served high school students in West Bend, but this year the teaching lab expanded for budding chefs and restauranteurs. 

“The health inspector comes in,” Sally Heuer, a family and consumer science teacher, says. “Everything has to be top quality. Everything has to meet the expectations of somebody in the community who dines out.” 

Heuer leads the students working at the Nifty Nibble in West Bend West High School. First, she says they start with the basics: learning how to cook in a home kitchen. Then students can join the two-year ProStart program, which is a curriculum designed by the National Restaurant Association. 

“We chose to be a ProStart school because of the rigor and relevance in today’s world,” Heuer says. 

Today’s world also comes with supply chain issues, and Heuer says her students saw that firsthand when Nifty Nibble was undergoing renovations. 

“We wanted to make it something that they wanted to be a part of because it is their restaurant,” Heuer says. “They take ownership for the day-to-day operation.” 

Heuer says the students are responsible for creating weekly menus based on their own skill sets. The classes also help with ordering food and supplies. And even if steaks or scallops make the list, Heuer says they are always mindful of sticking to the budget. 

For hungry students, weekly menus are posted on social media, and staff are able to schedule lunch deliveries directly to their classrooms. But the restaurant is also a hub of student activity with kids meeting, studying and spending time together after a tough year of virtual learning.

“The Nifty Nibble is a real source of pride for the students who not only have worked here or work here currently, but even we’ve got so many loyal customers,” Ralph Schlass, the West Bend West High School principal, says. “We’ve got so many students who look forward to this restaurant being open.”

Special thanks to West Bend students Ava Kahut, Addysen Harter and Lacee Justman for contributing video to this story. 

If you know a remarkable student, teacher or school making a difference in your community – contact CBS 58 to be featured in the next School Bulletin. 

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