Fifty Minute Classroom

Jun 27, 2017, 10:24
50-Minute Classroom: Sauces

50-Minute Classroom: Sauces

If you think you can’t teach sauces within a 50-minute context, you absolutely can, says Chef Weiner. But first, you need to prep … yourself.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

Sauces can greatly elevate a dish. A poached egg is nothing special. Take that poached egg and put it in a muffin and add a slice of ham and you have a breakfast sandwich served throughout the country at countless fast-food places. Place that poached egg on top of an English muffin with a slice of ham and add hollandaise sauce, and you have something wonderful.

50-Minute Classroom: To Pay It Forward, Keep Learning

Telling people to be the best they can be allows them to quit striving whenever they want. To be the best in your field, however, one must always strive for the next level. This is the generations-long American Dream that we, as teachers, offer our students.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

I would like to dedicate this article to my two mentors and instructors for my California Teaching Credential: Susan Clark and the recently passed Lee Clark.

In this article I would like to revisit two previously published articles.

The first article is “Assessing Culinary Math Skills,” September 2011. This article has received more than 3,500 hits, and is one of the most popular articles that I have written. It is a culinary-math assessment test that I believe should be utilized by all instructors within the first week of a student starting your class.

Sadly, I have noticed that in the four years since I first wrote this assessment, scores are dropping. Today, I had a new student ask me how to triple the first ingredient in a recipe. The first ingredient was “one cup of water.”

50-Minute Classroom: “Those Who Can, Teach; Those Who Can’t, Do.”

As instructors, we often think we are not doing much. But, says Chef Weiner, we are actually changing the world with every student.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

In May 2014 I shared a graduation speech for you to give to your students. One year later I think it is time to take a break from my “how to” articles of recent months on ordering, blanching, measuring, etc., and have us all take a moment to realize the impact we have on the world as culinary instructors. This applies to high schools, culinary academies, community colleges and four-year institutions.

Yes, the modern culinary world gravitates out from us. In the previous era, which didn’t end all that long ago, learning on the job or being an apprentice was the norm.

Today, almost everyone gets some form of culinary training before hitting the terra-cotta tiles of a commercial kitchen. We as instructors have a duty to send them out into the world with basic skills, a passion for cooking and, more importantly, knowing how to work. (As I frequently tell people, I don’t teach people how to cook; I teach them how to work in a commercial kitchen.)

50-Minute Classroom: Shake Up Your Training, Mix Up Your Style

On a recent trip to Hawaii, Chef Weiner had an epiphany: Teaching our students how to cook isn’t good enough. To better prepare them for the real world, we also need to introduce students to the different formats of serving. Here are 10 effective ideas that fit nicely within a shorter class timeframe.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

One of the beauties of being active with CAFÉ is that you get to meet fellow culinary instructors, culinarians, students and chefs from around the country. I joke around that every time I return from the Leadership Conference I have to buy a larger business-card holder.

(Speaking of the Leadership Conference in June, I will be giving a presentation entitled “Teaching the Basic Cooking Principles in 50 Minutes.” It is designed specifically for high-school teachers. I hope you can attend, because I would love to have participation from a broad range of instructors.)

There is another way that being active in CAFÉ expands your network: You use CAFÉ to find others in the field in places where you will be travelling. Several months ago I mentioned to Mary Petersen, the president of CAFÉ, that my wife and I were going to Kauai. She introduced us via e-mail to Martina Hilldorfer, culinary-program coordinator and chef at the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at the Kauai Community College.

50-Minute Classroom: Measuring

Why does measuring weight, volume and temperature require training? Because each measuring instrument is only as good as the person who uses it. To that end, Chef Weiner offers a primer on measuring to share with your students.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

I have been asked to give a presentation at the June 2015 Leadership Conference in Niagara Falls on the topic of how to teach basic culinary skills in 50 minutes. Before students can braise, sauté, simmer, bake, roast, poach, etc., however, they need to know the basics of knives and they need to know how to measure.

CAFÉ’s “Gold Medal Classroom” published my four-part series, “How to Buy Knives,” in October 2010, November 2010, December 2010and January 2011. This article on measuring is written as an instruction manual for your students. Please feel free to print it out and hand it to them directly.

New cooks need to learn how to measure. Although there will be many times when you will use technique and feel in cooking, you have to understand the basics of measuring and following recipes, as well. The three most common types are measurement of liquids, measurement of solids and measurement of temperature.