Santa Maria high school students visit local Olive Garden for restaurant career education

SANTA MARIA, CA – Two of Pioneer Valley High School’s Culinary Arts 2 class went on a field trip to Santa Maria’s Olive Garden to see and learn first-hand about the restaurant industry before earning their ServSafe Food Handler Certificate.

“Pioneer Valley has been partnering with Olive Garden for nearly six years, and we are so grateful for giving our students the opportunity to experience what is possible in the kitchen of the industry,” said Culinary Arts – Family and says consumer science teacher Jen Montanes. “Olive Garden can serve 700 to 1,400 guests a day, so it’s great to be able to see what it takes to serve that capacity. We appreciate the students’ understanding of the ServSafe standards after their visit.”

The tour was led by Olive Garden General Manager Leonardo Rodriguez, who has been with the company for 24 years.

After the tour, the students were treated to spaghetti, salad and breadsticks.

“Going to Olive Garden gave me perspective on how a food establishment works. Learning was great for social skills,” said PVHS Senior Carlos Bustamante Fierro.

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District has approximately 40 career technical education courses and over 25 industry partners.

For more information, please contact SMJUHSD Public Information Officer Kenny Klein at 805-709-1454 or email

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