[Sca-cooks] Teaching Cooking 101

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Sun Jun 20 20:41:38 PDT 2010

> Bear replied to me with:
> <<< The problem is not having a kitchen, either you do or you don't.  The
> problem at King's College is the one hour class.  Hands on cooking and
> baking often does not fit neatly into the class schedule.  I shoehorned a
> simple baking class into two hours, but I won't try that again.  The 
> simple
> fact is that it takes a lot of time to impart practical knowledge and it 
> is
> better done with a small group and a lot of one-on-one interaction over 
> the
> course of a day or two. >>>
> Well, I was referring to the fact that many sites have only one kitchen. 
> And that one is often already being used to prepare lunch or an evening 
> feast. So it would be nice to have a site that had multiple kitchens. 
> Sometimes there is another smaller kitchen that can be used for the lunch 
> or the class. Ideally, it would be nice to have it in a school with home 
> ec. facilities, although I've heard they've been removing those.  Such 
> facilities are usually st up for teaching, right? So there might be less 
> counter space but it would be arranged for visibility. Or they might have 
> mirrors.

The practical baking course I ran was in a commercial kitchen in 
Moonschadowe which was also used for other classes and to prepare the feast 
(for which I did the baking).  I can bake manchet in about an hour, but to 
teach a group of 7 to 10 people to bake manchet and produce loaves of their 
making will take about three hours.  I've found that taking a day and 
teaching 3 or 4 people results in better instruction, provides practice and 
has better retention than a hurried course at King's College.

> Maybe facilities are one of the things you get for the $30 - $50/hour 
> Central Market classes.

Faciliy overhead, instructor time and maybe a little profit.  Classes like 
this are usually priced near cost with the store making its profit on the 
other goodies they can sell you.

> As to the length of the classes I can understand one hour being 
> problematic for a cooking and particularly a baking class. But do you 
> really need more than an hour to teach some knife skills or some of the 
> other skills that Gunthar was talking about?

The time necessary depends on the subject, and whether the course is merely 
a lecture or whether there is a practical component.  I sat in on a lecture 
on basic knife sharpening that ran for almost an hour and a half.  A couple 
of people stayed for some hands on with the instructor, which ran another 
three hours.  I can show people basic knife work in an hour, but that 
doesn't mean they know how to do it.  That takes pracitce.  IIRC, the CIA 
spends about three full weeks on all of the basic aspects of using kitchen 

> What is your definition in this case of "small group"? I've often seen 
> class sizes limited to 10 or 12 people.
> Stefan

For a lecture, I'm usually prepared for about 30 people and it will run 
roughly 50 minutes.  For a practical class, I really prefer 5 or less and as 
long as it takes.  Which is why I usually give lectures at King's College.



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