I’ve been teaching since 2009. During this time, I’ve taught at different high schools, as well as various post-secondary institutions. Coming to Jean Augustine Secondary School (JASS) in 2016 I had the opportunity to start a culinary program from scratch and design the foundation of what we wanted to do. With the shift from traditional teaching approaches to student-centered learning, we decided to have students explore and build their own skill-set in cooking and baking based on their interests, with safety in mind of course. But what does that mean? At the beginning of each semester all students must finish safety quizzes, followed by a week of knife safety, kitchen safety and demonstrations on correct operation of the kitchen equipment. After that, students are free to explore virtually any cooking and baking tasks on their own, with my guidance and support.
This means that in a class of 20 or so students, at any given time we could have students working on sourdough breads, modern desserts, meals for our food bank clients, after-school program snacks and even chocolate showpieces. With all this going on at the same time, sometimes things don’t work as well as they should or could. When we do encounter issues, they could be due do a few different factors: there’s the possibility of student error (not scaling ingredients properly, or not following instructions), or it could be an issue with the recipe itself – sometimes the recipe is no good, and sometimes it just isn’t well-suited for use with our kitchen equipment (e.g. baking in a standard home oven is going to be different than baking in the Rationales that we have at school). To improve our chances of success, we have decided to work on developing a library of standard, reliable recipes for the students to follow.
Right now, we keep a record of all of the recipes that we do on google classroom, but this means that when students complete the course they no longer have access to some of the things they made in class. Instead, we’ve decided to create and maintain a collection of recipes used (and sometimes improved on) by students in the hospitality program here. This will serve as a resource that will be available for students during and beyond their time in the course. It will also provide us with the ability to record our notes and results and continue to develop and improve on the recipes. We will continue to work on and build this library for future students.
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