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Culinary Institutes Invite The Public In

Learning how to teach can be an important part of chef training at culinary institutes. When you explain procedures to "civilians" who are outside the culinary arts profession and have no interest in a culinary career, you reinforce your own ability with those procedures. If you are one of the culinary institute's senior students, you may find yourself leading a group of these beginners. If the culinary institute's teaching chefs take on the teaching task, part of your training might be to serve as a sous chef.

Culinary Institutes As Company Trips

Large companies often reward their employees with special trips, called offsites. I was invited to observe one of these events at one of the top culinary institutes. The culinary arts students who participated will probably remember the visit for the rest of their culinary careers.

The guests-engineers from a Silicon Valley technology company-arrived at the culinary institute's front door in a chartered bus. They were in a festive mood and they were ready to party in addition to being ready for chef training. The culinary arts novices were led to one of the student kitchens and given aprons and hats. Some of them seemed to know their way around a kitchen, but most of them were total beginners in the culinary arts. They were divided into mixed groups and each group was given one or two of the institute's culinary career students. Each group was given a recipe and a set of chores. The students then had a task that ranged from something resembling simple culinary teaching, to something that was more like herding a group of cats.

At the end of the session, the culinary arts students took the items that the guests had prepared and finished off the cooking process. The visitors were then led to the dining room to await the dinner that they had "created." More and more culinary institutes are sponsoring these "cooking parties." If your culinary arts school hasn't tried it, you might just suggest the idea. It's fun, profitable, and a real learning experience.