Teaching Tips

Jun 25, 2017, 20:44
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Garde-Manger Workshop Grand Rapids, MI

02 September 2009
  • We work in partnership with the University on-site foodservice provider by rotating our students so that they can get more experience working with quantity output. The students are given a grade from the kitchen supervisory. (VH)
  • Our students are invited and encouraged to participate in a holiday ice-carving presentation at Primary Children’s Hospital (a hospital for children requiring special long-term care). This group goes on the Monday before Christmas and carves Santa and all of the reindeer and displays it outside the hospital for the kids and their families. It brings a lot of enjoyment during a time that is stressful and trying. Our group has done this for 15 or more years. We have had many of the kids come out of their rooms and watch the action. They are all very excited and grateful that we bring some joy into their lives. (TW)
  • I like to include my co-op students in our bakeshop into menu selection. Once I can see that their skill level is achieved, I will work with them and let them choose dessert selections for our “Fifty-One-O-One” Restaurant. I find it gives them a sense of ownership of the program/restaurant and helps them to improve themselves even more. (JC)
  • I encourage a field trip to the local (retail) produce/gourmet market. They learn about a purchasing resource (small amounts/expensive items). It also helps to show them a museum of unique products and it involves our program with local business. (EG)
  • Project First Day: Using a note card, have students write what they expect to learn, want to learn, and what their goals are. The goals are quantified by using a sports analogy: What is your World Series, Championship, NFL Title? Also, I start using the beginnings of a player development, at the high-school level, then joining a team leading up to the behind-the-scenes work that it takes to get the Championship. (AM)
  • On the First Day of Menu Planning & Design: “Menu Revelations.” Ask students: “What does a menu tell the guest?” Put responses on the board. Keep pressing, after getting the obvious responses of what kind of food is offered and the prices. The point is that some things a menu “reveals” are explicit, in print, and some are implicit, conveyed to the guest via design, working, style of font, etc. Then break the class into small groups. Give each group a restaurant menu. The assignment is to describe (on paper), briefly, the type of menu, skill in the kitchen, if any ingredient will be difficult to obtain, the average check, the ambience. For the most part, they’ll be guessing, which is exactly the same thing a potential guest looking at a menu would do, revealing the power of the menu. (PW)
  • On the first day of class, the students write a letter of intent to me letting me know what I can expect of them. Some of the things I ask them to consider are: respect, cooperation, interest level, openness to new foods and their ability level. (OB)
  • On the first day of class we pair students and give them five to eight minutes to find out information answering the following questions: name, where they are from, their goal from training, some trivia about them. Then, they introduce each other to the class. (CA)
  • Take students on a trip to a farm of organically grown produce, chicken, milk, etc. Possibly milking cows, gather eggs, question organic techniques, the whys and hows. Talk about Chefs Table in Milan, Ohio, and how Chicago’s Charlie Trotter and farmers started the program. *Pick a special holiday (e.g. St. Patrick’s Day) and have students study the history, plan and prepare special menus, and prepare and plate foods knowing the history, preparations, and serving. Taste all food. (CH)
  • Start with a tangible question to get their attention, like, “I have a dime and a quarter in my pocket. It’s yours if you can relate it to our lesson today.” (JN)
  • On the first day of class I try to have a two-hour session of decorating ideas using fruits and vegetables, also cold sauces that they can use through the whole semester. *I tell all students to read the recipe all the way through and make it in their minds before beginning. Also, just as in carpentry, measure twice, make it once. *Don’t let the recipe run you. You have to run the recipe. Be organized. If you don’t have a certain ingredient, use your imagination and substitute appropriate ingredient. *On the first day some students are afraid to ask questions, fearing they will be perceived dumb. I tell the class we only know what we are told. If no one took the time to tell us we would never know. The dumbest question is the one you don’t ask. (BR)
  • How to motivate a bright student: Give that student more responsibilities such as planning special luncheons, dinners, etc. Even give them the duties of “hiring” the prospective staff: student chef, sous chef, line cook, etc. This is not only beneficial to you, but it gives that student great skills for the future. *How to motivate slower students: Of course they need some added time, but if they have writing skills, art skills, etc., find what they are good at and get them involved in designing menus and couple them with a brighter student so that they can learn by example. *Grade out of the box. If it’s very good work, the best that you know the student can do, then grade accordingly. (GJ)
  • Prior to a tour of a hospital kitchen managed by Sodexho, I had my student research several food-contract companies. I copied off the logos of several companies and handed these to the students and asked them to find as much information as possible about them. Using the Internet, the students became engrossed at what they were learning when the students toured the hospital. I found that they were asking the foodservice director questions related to areas found on the Web sites. (SD)
  • During the first days of class, after discussing various career options, students are required to research three careers of interest. Many times after completing the research, students either decide they want no part of the particular career or that they will absolutely love the area. During the presentation and discussion, I am able to see which students are more focused on a culinary-arts career. (SL)
  • After reviewing the course outline and program/classroom rules for the beginning culinary-lab class, students take a home exam with 25 to 35 questions, which they go over the materials at home. (DK)
  • For a team project for soups, stocks, sauces class, we held a barbeque cook-off for students. For the final practical exam, we invited all staff and faculty to be the judges. Categories included hottest, best overall, most unique. The criteria for the students were that they had to create any BBQ sauce. We provided pulled pork for them. All sauces must be made from scratch and they had to write the recipe. We had a mustard BBQ, Caribbean BBQ, sweet, chipotle, etc. *As a community-service project on Christmas day we partnered with our local state rep, who has served dinner for those in need for the past 18 years. We cook turkey, ham, and a traditional Christmas meal for 400 people on Christmas day. (JG)

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