LONDONDERRY — Students at Londonderry High School got up close with an expert who knows the fine points of cake decorating.
Vicki Connell, department chairman and associate professor of Southern New Hampshire Univeristy's culinary program, paid the high school a visit on Nov. 19, showing students in the school's Intro to Foods program how to spread fondant, create unique patterns, and make a cake look special with floral accents and other designs.
Connell spent the day with students, gsharing her expertise on cake decorating. She has written and taught pastry arts curriculum at the university since 1985.
Connell has also been featured as an on-set chef on Public Television's "Country Inn Cooking" program and also in the American Culinary Federation's video series.
She was inducted into the Cooking Matters Hall of Fame by Share our Strength, where she was recognized for her volunteer work with Cooking Matters, an organization that brings local culinary and nutrition experts together to teach hands-on cooking courses to low-income families.
Londonderry High School teacher Ann Gonyea said having Connell in the classroom helped reinforce the students' abilities and give them a look at professional culinary life after high school.
It also just teaches great life skills in the process, Gonyea said.
There are many class offerings at the high school that do just that, she said, including the consumer sciences, family topics and culinary arts.
"There is something for everyone," she said. "These are skills they will need outside of school."
Connell said students also learn well because they see the demonstrations up close and then have the opportunity to use what they've learned on their own cake creations.
"It's easy to see, and they have a final product that they really can relate to," Connell said. "And it's edible."
Londonderry students were scheduled to travel to Southern New Hampshire University to see that school's culinary program in action.