Fifty Minute Classroom

Oct 17, 2017, 22:32

50-Minute Classroom: How to Order

For newer culinary-arts teachers, ordering can seem a daunting task. But it’s really quite simple, says Chef Weiner, who suggests three basic ways to order for day-to-day teaching (while taking into consideration two common snags). His chief advice? Under order.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

This article is dedicated to the newer instructors. If you are experienced in ordering for teaching purposes, then feel free to skip this article and join me again next month.

If you are new to teaching, you have only been ordering for your class for a short time. By now you are probably banging your head into the wall, particularly if you have never ordered for a foodservice facility.

In the beginning, new chefs and instructors tend to over order. This is only slightly burdensome for non-perishables and freezer items (although sooner or later space becomes an issue). This can be a real money loser for perishable items that can’t be frozen.

WORK VERY HARD to under order. Remember, your job is to teach the students how to cook—not to feed them. If they only get a half serving (or even a taste), so be it.

50-Minute Classroom: Teaching Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Does anything scare new cooks more than gravy? And what to do when faced with a sweet potato AND a yam? Chef Weiner explains how educators can assuage students’ fears of preparing traditional Thanksgiving sides from scratch—and teach it all successfully in 50 minutes.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

Hard to believe, the holidays are upon us. For many of your students, they learned from a young age the important lesson that love must go into the food. However, they probably watched their parents “freak out” about Thanksgiving dinner or, worse yet, watched their parents purchase canned and packaged food.

So it is your job how to teach them to make great-tasting, healthy, homemade side dishes. Here are five items that can all be easily made in one class day, or prepped on one day and finished the next.

1. Cranberry Sauce. There is absolutely nothing easier to make than cranberry sauce. Yet, almost everyone resorts to cans. If your student can boil water, he or she can make homemade cranberry sauce in under 15 minutes.

Rinse a 12-ounce package of cranberries. Add 1 cup water and ¾ cup to 1 cup sugar into a heavy pot. (Amount depends on how sweet you like the sauce.) Simmer for about 10 minutes. The longer you simmer, the thicker the sauce. If you want the sauce smooth, just push the mixture through a strainer while it is still hot. Want to kick it up a notch? Add in diced dried apricots, lemon zest or a pinch of cinnamon, or let your mind be creative.

50-Minute Classroom: Blanching and Parboiling

These very simple techniques are not taught more often in a 50-minute context because the blanched or parboiled product is generally not ready for service by the end of class. But, says Chef Weiner, they’re important to teach for their contributions to cooking. Here, he explains how to best teach the procedures, with applications that can fit perfectly into 50 minutes.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

Over the last four years I have written a number of articles on how to teach different cooking principles in a 50-minute-classroom setting. These articles have included:

It is now time to address one of the easiest cooking principles to teach in 50 minutes: blanching and the related technique of parboiling.

By definition, blanching and parboiling are each just a quick process:

50-Minute Classroom: The “First 50” Index

Chef Weiner lists his first 50 articles written for CAFÉ’s “The Gold Medal Classroom,” for the benefit of readers.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

This article is dedicated to Ms. Terry Jones of Gallup high School in New Mexico. At the June 2014 CAFÉ Leadership Conference in Salt Lake City, she sat down next to me and said, “Adam, I print out each of your articles and keep them in a notebook on my desk. I made an index, and before I teach a new subject I re-read the appropriate article.”

Could anything be more musical to my ears?

Toward the end of 2008 I was contacted by Brent Frei and Mary Petersen asking if I would be interested in writing the regular editorial department, “50-Minute Classroom,” for CAFÉ’s “The Gold Medal Classroom.” I told them that I would do it temporarily for a few months until they found a permanent columnist.

Teaching with Puzzles

Crossword and word-search puzzles can be fun, effective tools for familiarizing students with important terms.

By Adam Weiner, JobTrain and the Sequoia Adult School

We all get in a rut. Line cooks start turning out dish after dish, caring less for the quality because they have done it over and over again. Customers go to the same places and order the same thing, not because they are afraid to try something new; they are just stuck on their tracks like a street car. Teachers have the same problem, and when we do, the students turn on their I-pods and tune us out.

I am always looking for new ways to teach the same old thing. New tricks to pull out of a hat. One of the things that I have found is the very effective use of puzzles in teaching.

Occasionally, I start a class with a word- search puzzle with all of the terms I am
going to cover in the class. I end the class with a “test” of a crossword puzzle using the same terms. It is, I have found, incredibly effective. The best part is that there are many places on the Internet where you can create puzzles for free.