Jan 19, 2021, 17:02
In 2020 Cs that weren’t average: Covid-19, Change and Culinary

In 2020 Cs that weren’t average: Covid-19, Change and Culinary

04 December 2020


Dear Educators and CAFÉ Partners, 

Traditionally, the December Gold Medal Classroom (GMC) edition has a culminating year-in-review air to it. And, like everything else, the year 2020 has changed even this traditional issue. 

Stop. What is your immediate reaction to the sentence: 2020 has changed everything? Are you smiling at the thought of the changes? Are you cringing at what has transpired? Are you ambivalent? (And, if you are the latter, I’d like to know as I have not interacted with anyone who is so-so about 2020.) Remember your reaction as I will return to it. 

GMC began 2020 with the second in a two-issue series on how to create and adapt to change. I wrote, “Culinary education is a challenging environment facing radical change. Looking ahead one doesn’t need to be a clairvoyant to understand a fundamental shift is on the horizon.” Clairvoyant indeed! Nine stories over two months by four writers talking about fundamental shifts in culinary education. Look what happened two months later.  

Paul Sorgule wrote this in a Think Tank article, “Change in the modern world is instantaneous and those who are not prepared will quickly be run over by it.” He even eerily predicted today’s teaching reality when he said, “Don’t dismiss online and hybrid delivery as well as intensive short residency programs.” 

Those nine stories focused on a theme: helping culinary educators courageously plot their course through change and come out as fearless and successful navigators of the next chapter in the foodservice industry. Well, how did we do? Click here to review the navigating change stories.

CAFÉ strives to be a culinary educator’s partner. Although we didn’t necessarily predict a worldwide pandemic (we weren’t that good!), when it hit we strove to partner with you in moving to teaching in an online environment. Four special editions and countless stories focused on discovering new digital culinary resources, ideas from instructors around the country about their fall and spring semester plans, teaching tactics for Zoom and in-home lab instruction, and much more. Throughout 2020 and into 2021, CAFÉ supports your teaching efforts and will continue offering online culinary ideas and plans. 

GMC also began featuring stories focusing on a variety of foodservice careers, from cooking careers that break the stigma of non-restaurant chefs to a new monthly column, Chef’s Corner Table, highlighting chefs from research and development through food scientists. The foodservice industry is changing as fast as culinary education and we are here to highlight all career options for your graduating culinarians.

So, 2020 was not average or so-so. What was your reaction to the sentence 2020 has changed everything? According to Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation Robert Iger, “Change is inevitable and a disruptor. Change can also be exhilarating and highly rewarding.” If your reaction to the sentence was not altogether positive, perhaps a new perspective may create possibilities and opportunities unforeseen and unimaginable just a few months ago. 

Adam Weiner offered in his 50 Minute Classroom column a quote from the movie Lion King, “Change isn’t easy at times, but it is always necessary." He continued with this: “The point is that even if change takes us out of our comfort zone, we must remember we got into that particular comfort zone through change.” How comfortable are you with online culinary education at the moment? No, change is not easy. 

Looking ahead to 2021, let’s take a page out of Iger’s book (literally) and lead culinary education classes with curiosity, decisiveness, courage, optimism, and thoughtfulness, among other values. And, continue reading, sharing, and contributing to CAFÉ’s Gold Medal Classroom. Here’s to change and culinary education that is well above average. 

Happy Holidays from CAFÉ! 


Lisa M. Parrish
GMC Editor 

P.S. We can’t change things up too much! Click here to read the complete 2020 GMC article index