Why do we go to cooking classes?
I had someone say to me once “if owning a library of cookbooks made for a good cook, I’d be a celebrity chef by now” unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. Back in the day, many years ago, the cook of the house would teach cookery by showing. Recipes were learnt by watching, making, understanding and memorising. Today’s cooking classes do that as well. If you learn better by watching rather than reading, then this is the way for you. Once you’ve mastered techniques, you’ll be off and running with your recipes.
I’ve always been interested in cooking. My Nana was the most amazing cook.
All her recipes were in her head or written on scraps of paper, in the form of writing that I could barely read. I remember standing on a chair watching her make Yorkshire puddings, Cornish pasties and all sorts of other heart-warming dishes. Although plucking chickens was never much fun, I learnt a great deal from her.
On the other hand, my mum didn’t like to cook much at all. She worked six days a week and after everything else that took up her time, getting a meal on the table needed to be done in a quick and dependable fashion. Sound familiar?
Well, I figured out at an early age, if we were going to get some decent tucker in our house, it was time to start cooking for the family. So, in grade 6, I took on the challenge. I was a latchkey kid after school from about 4 till 6 pm each weekday, and man I ran that kitchen hehe hee Eee. I remember the first time I tried something from a cookbook. It was Steak Dianne with Scalloped Potatoes and a Chocolate Tart for dessert. I was so exhausted I couldn’t eat it myself, but my mum still proudly talks about it today. Not bad from a 9-year old I reckon. Where was “Junior Master Chef” back then? Haha, My Nan could have been right alongside of me.
Today, I still love to cook, my time in the kitchen is like being in my own little world. I think cooking from the heart shows people how much you love them and enjoy their company. Eating the food, makes you feel warm inside, especially if you can share it with family and friends. I’m sure some of you feel that way too.
After the years of chef/Patissier training?
I am so thankful that I went on and did my Certificate in Training and Assessment. When sitting down to plan a class, there’s so much to think about, if you truly want to develop a great class, full of learning. After 11 weeks of training and from memory, over 18 units, it was a worthwhile slog. I found it incredibly insightful and was so glad I chose the course I did. Having the right instructors had to be one of the most important parts of the formula.
When teaching at TAFE, everyone gets to do the work individually or in pairs. It’s all hands on, and everyone learns together. There are only a couple of disadvantages to this method of teaching.
1. The class sometimes runs a little longer or have to fit into time constraints. There is only so much you can do at one time if everyone is making.
2. The class sometimes cost a little more (lots more ingredient, prep and clean down)
But for the advantages
1. You get to watch how to do something professionally
2. You get to practice making it and give advice when problems arise
3. Tips and tricks are shown along the way so you can put them into practice when repeating in your kitchen
4. The method is explained so that you know what should be happening at each stage and can experience it for yourself. This helps you commit the recipe to memory and when you make it again or something similar you know how and what you need to achieve
When you learn from chef or industry based instructors, you learn their tips and tricks. They have repeated these tasks over and over and have worked out tricks to make the job quicker and easier. Amazing how much more you learn from this experience, hearing their tips, tricks and the ability to ask questions along the way. Can’t do that from a book. I still go to classes today. I figure if I pick up just one good tip it was worth the time and money.
So my conclusion:
Tell me about it, and I may forget
Show me, and I will remember
Involve me, and I will understand and have the ability to repeat the task.
These are the elements that I consider when putting a class together.
Check out these photos of people having fun. 😉