LAN Associates was tasked with reinvigorating the culinary arts program at Leonia High School by designing a new state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Lab. The goal was to provide the program with a space that is on par with a dedicated culinary academy in both form and function. By providing a modern lab that meets the standards needed to teach contemporary techniques, and equipping it to match a professional kitchen, the design exceeded the school’s expectations.
The newly renovated facility has six individual learning kitchens and a large instructional counter, all of which are equipped with commercial grade equipment. This includes large ranges with salamanders, three compartment sinks, stainless steel counters, and a variety of appliances that would rival a modern restaurant. The center of the lab is a flexible environment where tables with casters can be used for instruction, as additional counter space, or arranged for serving and plating. The lab also includes separate areas for students, and dry good storage, as well as a tower garden for year-round fresh herbs.
To increase the modern culinary atmosphere found in high end restaurants, a large glass wall separates the lab and corridors, providing passersby a glimpse into the space.
To celebrate the Culinary Arts Lab grand opening, the school and LAN Associates hosted an open house with a special event. School and town officials, faculty, and students gathered to tour the facility and watch a local pastry chef provide a live demo on how to cook bananas foster and share his culinary arts experience. The event used the lab’s live camera system located above the instructional counter which allows cooking preparation to be viewed on screens placed throughout the lab.
This project generated tremendous interest in the program and garnered national recognition. Soon after the ribbon cutting, the program saw an 80% increase in enrollment, necessitating the implementation of a waitlist. A post occupancy survey showed that 86% of participants believe the space promotes creativity and innovation, and the project received the Outstanding Project Award from Learning by Design Magazine in 2019.
Leonia Public Schools
Leonia, New Jersey
Architecture, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing