Carbon Career and Technical Institute Salutatorian Tiffany Ruch is cooking up a career in food service.

Ruch, of Palmerton is a Culinary Arts student, following in the footsteps of her older sister Tabitha, who graduated from CCTI's culinary program in 2008. Tiffany's twin sister, Trisha, is also enrolled in the program.

Although Tiffany has yet to decide how to use what's she's learned as a career map, she's enjoyed the lessons.

The daughter of Jeffrey Ruch and Nancy Amill, Ruch enrolled in her sophomore year.

"My older sister, she's 21 now, graduated from culinary in 2008, so I just went right along in culinary because I like to cook and it seemed like the right thing to do," she said. "My twin sister is in it, too. It's kind of like a family thing."

The program, taught by Nadine Harbove, has taught Ruch a lot.

She said she likes the way Ms. Harbove teaches.

"I love her I don't know what I'd do without her. She's made our years so eventful. without her, we wouldn't do half the stuff we do," Ruch said.

The intricacies of baking, with its reliance on physics, math and chemistry, surprised her. But it's also among her favorite lessons.

"The baking is hard. You'd never think that it would be hard to bake rolls," she said. "You see them the store all the time and it looks so easy. But you have to make them a certain way or they don't come out right."

Making sure the yeast rises properly "is probably the most challenging part of making rolls. If you do it wrong, it just doesn't come out right," she said.

Accuracy in weighing ingredients and making sure they are at the right temperatures are crucial.

But the challenges are worth the effort, Ruch said.

"I love to make desserts and I love to ice cakes. I love to make cakes," she said. "I like to cook, too. I love to sautee stuff that's fun."

Her most recent accomplishment was mastering the art of making cream puffs.

"It wasn't hard at all. It was actually easier than it looks," she said.

Ruch is glad she enrolled in the Culinary Arts program.

"This program is a great program for kids who just want to have fun and who want to get seriously educated in how to cook. And the school is perfect. The teachers are great. If kids are looking for a one-on -one learning experience, they should come here. It's a very good school," she said.

After graduation, she'll keep her part-time job at the Subway shop in Jim Thorpe until she decides what direction to take.

"The future will fall into place," she said.

Harbove is sure her student will do well.

"She's very reliable. And dependable. She's a sweetie," Harbove said. "I don't know what she's going to do after graduation, she's undecided. I can see her staying in the food industry, maybe in nutrition. Or maybe she'll go to (Northampton County Community College) for culinary. There, she would excel."