Seth Perkison is putting the baker in Baker Lake.
A Grade 11 student at Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School, Perkison recently whipped up a couple of apple pies in his Food Arts 20 class that looked like they were right out of an illustrated cookbook.
“It tasted even better than it looked,” said Craig Vincent, who teaches the class.
Even experienced bakers can struggle with delicate pie crusts. One of the keys, Perkison revealed, is to chill – literally.
“The secret to a successful pastry is to keep everything cold – your butter cold, your water cold, your oiled cooled before you throw it (all) in the oven,” he said.
Blending in cold butter is difficult, Perkison acknowledged, so he shredded it in a cheese grater to make the process easier, he said.
Making proper pastry is admittedly a challenging task for novice bakers, but it’s a matter of raising the bar, Vincent said.
“It’s actually a meeting of success with them, that includes all of them,” he said. “Let’s do it. If they mess it up, you know what, the garbage pail is right there and there’s a lot more ingredients on the table. Let’s try again.”
Perkison took one of the pies home to his family and everyone enjoyed it, he said.
“It was gone in seconds.”
Perkison and his food arts classmates have been making more than just pies. They’ve cooked up chili and fried caribou and baked cookies and muffins, among other things.
One of his favourite dishes was a ginger chicken stir fry with rice, peppers and onions.
Cooking and baking aren’t just a means to another school credit for Perkison. He plans to parlay his culinary skills into a profession.
“Definitely (it’s) a career option,” he said. “When I’m done (high school) I want to go to culinary arts school. I don’t look at it as simply cooking, it’s an art to me.”
Perkison got his start in the kitchen early.
“I’ve always enjoyed cooking since I was a little kid. I found my passion early, it’s cooking,” he said, recalling the exact moment when he realized just how rewarding it could be. “I made a grilled cheese one time when I was eight years old and I was like, mmm, I made this,” he said.