Idaho Potato Commission Innovation Award (Non-traditional):
Adam Weiner, JobTrain, Menlo Park California
Chef Adam Weiner has served as culinary-arts instructor at JobTrain for 15 years. His education philosophy: “I do not teach anyone how to cook. I teach everyone how to work in a commercial kitchen.” Indeed, his classroom operates more like a commercial kitchen with the expectation that students act as employees. His unconventional approach to teaching—which has earned numerous raves from the foodservice-education community—prepares students for the real world. For instance, his syllabus reinforces timeliness, working in teams for the good of the kitchen and the proper techniques for reporting absences. Graduates of the program are often called upon to teach.
Weiner combines his passions for teaching and the community in many service projects involving his students, which include baking more than 10,000 cookies for inmates at the county corrections facility and serving dinner monthly to 150 underprivileged people through a nonprofit organization, Table of Plenty.