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.