Fifty Minute Classroom

Jun 27, 2017, 10:23

50-Minute Classroom: Teaching the Value of “Real” Networking

Says Chef Weiner, who will speak to this topic at the CAFÉ Leadership Conference in Miami in June, there are many benefits of person-to-person interaction that can’t be replicated by social networking.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

Editor’s Note: CAFÉ asked Chef Weiner to present a seminar at the June 2013 Leadership Conference in Miami next month. His topic: “WHAT GOOD IS SITTING ALONE IN YOUR ROOM: TEACHING YOUR STUDENTS THE WHY AND HOW OF REAL NETWORKING.” For May’s GMC he decided to write a brief summary of some of the points of his presentation. If you haven’t yet enrolled for the conference, visit to register.           

So far this year, my focus has been on teaching various cooking techniques. Let’s take a break for a month and talk about one of today’s hottest buzzwords: networking. Don’t worry, this isn’t another article about social networking. This is a brief introduction on how to educate and influence the Facebook and Twitter generation on why and how to perform the dance of real networking.

50-Minute Classroom: Teaching Grilling

Generally speaking, a perfectly grilled item should have a nice brown coating on the outside and be moist and juicy inside. Here’s how to successfully teach the technique of grilling within a shorter class period.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

January’s 50-Minute Classroom was about whether it was more important to teach recipes or techniques. I concluded that both were important. February was teaching how to read and write a recipe.

Now it is time to continue the discussion on how to teach different techniques. I’ve already addressed how to teach your students braising(September 2010), baking (July 2011) sautéing(January 2012) and steaming (March 2013).This month: grilling.

1. Teach Your Students the Difference Between Barbecuing, Smoking and Grilling:

50-Minute Classroom: Teaching Steaming

weinerSteam is a very efficient method of cooking, but students approaching it for the first time tend to overlook several important considerations to ensuring food quality.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

In January I wrote than, in my opinion, students need to have a good working knowledge of the following recipes and technique. In the past I have written articles about teaching braising (September 2010), baking (July 2011) and sautéing (January 2012) in 50 minutes. In the next several months (with an occasional break here and there to spice things up), I will write how to teach other basic cooking techniques.

This month, steaming.

50-Minute Classroom: Reading and Writing Recipes

weinerChef Weiner offers a solid primer to print out and provide to students, ensuring they’ll understand a recipe fully and be on the look-out for pitfalls before they begin to gather their mise en place.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

Last month I stressed the importance of not limiting your students to simply learning how to follow recipes or how to cook by technique only. Students need to learn both skill sets. As I mentioned last month, it is important to follow recipes in a commercial kitchen to ensure that no matter when a customer orders something, it will always taste the same, be the same size, and the food costs for each plate will be the same.

The following is what students need to learn about reading and writing recipes. Feel free to copy it and give it to your students. However, you might want to remove the “Note for Instructors” below if you want to use that little trick on your students.

50-Minute Classroom: Do You Teach Recipes or Technique?

weinerChef Weiner argues there’s only one right answer.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

Paper or plastic? Shaken or stirred? Regular or decaf? Red or white? Recipes or technique? These are some of the great questions that plague culinary instructors on a daily basis. To start the New Year, I am going to open the debate (please post a comment on this website so we can really get the debate going) on whether we should focus our students on learning how to follow recipes or how to use their technical skills to create or duplicate dishes.

Recipes or technique is a question that drives culinary instructors crazy. When I focus on teaching recipes, a number of my friends (many of whom volunteer to teach the class and others who hire my students) tell me that I am doing a disservice, because when they go out into the real world there won’t be recipes. These chefs contend that when the students go out into restaurants they will be shown a dish once and then be expected to duplicate it.