Fifty Minute Classroom

Aug 20, 2018, 11:19

50-Minute Classroom: Student Training Logs

Having culinary students keep professional journals is beneficial to their learning—and eventual employment. But if that task is too daunting to your younger students, Chef Weiner proposes a simple, less-intimidating way for them to track their progress in class.

By Adam Weiner, CFSE

For years I got feedback from chefs, kitchen managers and human-resources people that my students often stumbled in interviews when asked the obvious (and apparently simple) question: “So, what have you made in class?” I was told that the student being interviewed magically morphed into a deer in the headlights. For years I struggled with how to prevent this from happening.

In June 2014 my friend and colleague, Dr. Fred Mayo, wrote in his column in CAFÉ’s “Gold Medal Classroom” about the importance of students maintaining professional journals during and after their culinary educations. I concur. Unfortunately, for many vocational-level students, and for high-school students, the idea of doing this is intimidating. They need a bit more structure and guidance in order to accomplish this task.

I came up with a simple chart. (See a sample chart that follows and the downloadable MS Word attachment below.) Every day the student has to spend her or his last minute in class filling in the form. Of course, you can have your students do it less frequently if that works better for them and you. I tell the students to bring these forms to interviews. They can, if necessary, show them to the interviewer.

I have also found that they have another use. Occasionally I will ask a student to do something: “Please make a frittata using spinach and mushrooms.” Then the student will turn to me, “Chef, what’s a frittata?” I ask to see her or his log. I then quietly say, “On November 18th I gave a demonstration on how to make a frittata and you made one that day. Look back through your notes, look at the pictures in your portfolio, and talk to your fellow students.”

Name:   __________________________________________________




What I Made


Or Video

What I learned

Things to Remember
































































At first your students will fight you about doing this. After about a week or so it will become a routine part of each culinary training day. It will become a valuable tool for them and will start them recording what they do in your class and in their culinary careers.

Chef Adam Weiner, CFSE, teaches a 20-week Introduction to Cooking program for JobTrain on the San Francisco Peninsula, and is a frequent presenter at CAFÉ events throughout the nation.

Download attachments: