Myriad resources for training DVDs, posters, booklets and even free guest lecturers are there for the taking.
By Adam Weiner, CFSE
“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is knowing to keep it out of a fruit salad.”
Texted to me by my daughter at college on October 25, 2011.
It’s been a year since my daughter texted me that quote, and it still amazes me how often the difference between knowledge and wisdom hits me between the eyes. One recent example was at CAFÉ’s Leadership Conference this past June in San Antonio, while I was leading a roundtable discussion on the 50-Minute Classroom. One member of the group posed the question of what outside resources were available (for free) that she could use in her classroom. Two members of our group were representatives of the Idaho Potato Commission. They said that they would be happy to provide her with booklets, charts, displays for her classroom all about potatoes, and would even arrange a guest speaker.
Now, I already knew some representatives of some product commissions do that sort of thing since they had done that for me in my class. To be candid, I had just assumed these people did these things as special favors for me. Yet, these two men took my knowledge and turned it into wisdom: They said to our table, “You know, just about every board or commission will do the same for you. All you have to do is ask.”
The next day at the Leadership Conference there was a hall with exhibits by a number of vendors. I picked up brochures, flyers, diagrams, etc. for my class. (Several offered to mail large quantities for me so that I could give them out, not only to my current class, but to future classes, as well.) Later at the Conference, there were demonstrations by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Avocados from Mexico, California Endive (the only American endive producer), etc.
Feeling elated on transferring knowledge into wisdom, I went back and examined CAFÉ’s website. Under the tab, “Resource Center,” I found “Industry Resources.” This page has about 100 links to industry boards and associations for basically anything likely to be taught in your class.
I know what you are thinking. You are concerned that the representatives from boards, commissions, organizations and associations will use your class as a captive audience for live infomercials. Overall, I don’t think you need to be concerned. My experience with these professionals has been that they are out to educate, not to close a deal. They know it is your classroom and that you are trying to better educate your students. They respect that. There might be a brief tag here or there for their product, but I can almost guarantee that you will be surprised at the true un-commercial information that is imparted.
Finally, don’t feel guilty about asking for materials and for guest speakers. Most of the boards and commissions are tasked with reaching out to industry, educators, students and the public. As one representative told me, “It makes us look good to go talk to culinary programs. It shows we are doing are job.”
While we are on the subject of free aids for your classroom (and while you are at www.cafemeetingplace.com anyway), take a look at the tab, CAFÉvision. There are more than a dozen categories of free information videos, and each category has multiple videos. I particularly like the four short videos under the “wine” category. It allows my students to see how things are supposed to be done, even with the restriction that we cannot have alcohol beverages in my classroom.
The bottom line: There is a myriad or organizations willing to provide DVDs, posters, booklets and even free guest lecturers. They are there for the taking.
Next month’s 50-Minute Classroom will talk about an easy idea discussed at the same roundtable conversation on how to make sure that everyone in your classroom gets an equal amount of time on each phase of cooking.
Chef Adam Weiner, CFSE, teaches a 20-week Introduction to Cooking program for JobTrain on the San Francisco Peninsula.