Bertinelli’s visit coincides with the school’s 20-year anniversary of becoming a charter public school, enabling GHC to innovate and stay at the forefront of education with many new and ongoing programs.
May 30, 2023 Granada Hills – Two-time Golden Globe winner, actress Valerie Bertinelli, recently visited Granada Hills Charter (GHC) to share a recipe with the Advanced Culinary Arts class. Bertinelli, a member of the Class of 1978, started with a trip down memory lane as she walked through the campus.
"It actually looks very much the same,” Bertinelli said. “The front where I used to walk in hasn't changed that much, which makes me happy. But the curriculum has really exploded."
Bertinelli then joined Chef Daniel Ma’s Advanced Culinary Arts class to work with students on her recipe for Chicken á la King Crêpes from her cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking: More than 100 Delicious Recipes to Share with Friends and Family.” She donated 150 copies of her cookbook to the culinary students, hand-signing each one.
Although Bertinelli began her career in the entertainment industry as a 15-year-old actress on “One Day at a Time,” she has since gained fame as a celebrity chef. She has been the host of several Food Network shows including her own, “Valerie’s Home Cooking.” Although she does not have formal training, her cooking skills came from watching her family members in the kitchen. She has now written her third cookbook, which is expected to hit shelves in February.
Bertinelli has been cooking her whole life, but also really enjoyed her home economics course when she attended what was then Granada Hills High School.
“I loved home economics,” Bertinelli said. “But I didn't have a lot of time because I was in school one semester and then working on ‘One Day at a Time’ the other semester and being tutored on the set. So it was really challenging to try to stay up with everything at school."
“Having someone who has been so successful meet with our students adds a rich layer to their learning,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Bauer said. “That real-world experience is critical to showing students what they can achieve with the education they receive at GHC, whether it is in a newer program like culinary arts or through our independent study program that is tailored for the non-traditional schedule of someone like Valerie when she was a student here.”
Bertinelli, Chef Ma, and the Advanced Culinary Arts students certainly looked like they were on a television show in GHC’s commercial kitchen. The school updated the space and equipment in 2020, but was unable to feature its opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This culinary program is spectacular,” Bertinelli said. “I would have really thrived and loved this. This is such an artistic area right here. I always loved home economics, but now that it's actually culinary, that's great."
The Advanced Culinary Arts students followed along with Bertinelli as she demonstrated her recipe. She not only made the recipe herself, but also instructed students individually in technique.
“In so many ways cooking is all about technique, and it was great for our students to learn another approach to creating a delicious and interesting dish,” Chef Ma said. “I know they will be thinking how they can incorporate what they learned, during one of our competitions or just at home with their families.”
As a cookbook writer, Bertinelli spends a lot of time developing her recipes to make sure they come out the same each time. She also underscored the value of making sure that everyone, no matter the skill level, would be able to make what she’s written for them.
“Valerie taught me a lot of valuable lessons. It was also really cool to see a professional chef working in real life in our kitchen,” senior Jacob Meyer said.
Bertinelli’s visit coincides with the school’s 20-year anniversary of becoming a charter public school. Being a charter has enabled GHC to innovate and stay at the forefront of education with many outstanding programs such as International Baccalaureate, our nine-time national champion Academic Decathlon team, and the Culinary Arts program, along with many others.
“I love what they're focusing on at Granada,” Bertinelli said. “I think all schools across America could take a lesson from Granada in that instead of pulling back and cutting music courses, art courses, drama courses, culinary courses, we should promote them. Life is so much more than science and history classes. We need more than that.”
Bertinelli’s main goal and advice for high school students is to be kind.
“The social aspects of high school prepare you for a lot of life because everything even as an adult is really still high school, such as the way people treat each other or the way cliques happen,” Bertinelli said. “To get treated the way you want to be treated you have to exude kindness and then you'll get kindness back. Don't take responsibility for someone else's behavior, you can only be in charge of your own behavior. So just live your life with kindness.”