Continuing culinary training during a pandemic

How bakery and cooking institutes bridge the educational gap during covid-19

The outbreak of a global pandemic has shifted the traditional method of teaching and learning to the online space. Institutes were forced to remain closed during the lockdown and it proved very difficult for culinary institutes to offer cooking classes through an online mode. The lack of a cooking classroom and hands-on experiences has become the main drawback of online courses at culinary institutes. Amid all the online cooking class chaos, a few steps introduced by culinary institutes have helped bakeries and culinary institutes bridge the educational gap during the covid-19 pandemic.

Innovate and adapt

The Cooking and Baking program requires hands-on instruction conducted in a classroom setting to ensure that students learn the art of cooking with professionals and with state-of-the-art equipment. The method of reviewing the student’s work and providing the necessary instructions and comments cannot be replicated in the virtual installation due to physical constraints. In this scenario, the only way out is to innovate and adapt.

Introducing students to advanced tools such as the virtual kitchen used which provides a real experience remains a top priority for culinary institutes. Culinary and bakery institutes have the infrastructure and are well equipped with the specific setup and the right tools that help students understand and reproduce the same.

Strengthen the fundamental bases

Faced with the pandemic situation and the changing forms, culinary institutions are reinventing themselves and adapting to what is available at home. Institutes are trying to adopt new methods in order to allow students to stay on track in the absence of physical facilities and to understand lessons. Students follow the virtual classroom instructor, fundamentals of cooking, properties of ingredients, braise, cut, sauté, chop, dice. In-person analysis and feedback on student work is lacking; however, these are shared verbally online. Due to the lack of state-of-the-art equipment at home, much of the program now focuses on strengthening the fundamentals and finding solutions to problems.

Online courses help students stay motivated by connecting and sharing their experiences. The online sessions also aim to create a sense of community in today’s social distancing scenario. Regular celebrity appearances and the organization of engaging interactive sessions keep students excited and engaged in the learning process as they anxiously await the campus reopening.

Learn more about the theory

Even in the pandemic and online learning mode, students are grasping something new every day. The lockdown period is a great time for cooking students to focus on theoretical knowledge, catch up on recipes, and build on the basics and foundations of the culinary industry. Theory is as important as chopping and stirring in the kitchen.

Presentation of new skills

The culinary industry is no longer just about cooking skills, it has moved on to “more general skills” such as self-discipline, interpersonal communication and professionalism. These are the skills employers are looking for; those who hone these skills will make their mark after the pandemic and these skills are now also integrated into the curriculum. Now culinary institutes are focusing on expanding these skills of the students.

Introduction of extra-hygiene in cooking and baking

With the post-pandemic scenario in mind, culinary institutes include “food safety and hygiene” as an essential part of the curriculum. Students should now primarily consider COVID protocols when cooking and baking, as this is one of the main factors that will be considered by employers and restaurants before hiring chefs.

Along with many other industries and fields, the culinary and baking industry is also undergoing a huge change and has started working to make it a pandemic-friendly industry by training culinary students for the post-pandemic period. Introducing students to the new sets of culinary skills will help them understand the pressing needs of the day and move forward for the betterment of their careers.

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