Innovate Academy Westgate School Food Tech Class – A daunting yet delicious experience…
With the full support of the Innovate Academy and after the success of my half term children’s cookery workshops for ages 5-12’s, I was approached by the department head, Anne Marie Schellens, to get involved with some food tech learning for the Gcse students in the Upper School.
It just so happened it was year 10’s vegetarian awareness week and the start of year 9’s new classes, so I devised a plan to do something completely different with them that they may not get a chance to do otherwise.
I have to admit, it was daunting to attempt 3 aspects of one overall dish in around 35-40 minutes with older pupils, but I decided on smoked tofu or chicken satay with spiced Indonesian noodles and a ‘peanut free’ peanut satay sauce.
It was a technical challenge, with 3 pans and woks on the go at the same time.
During their briefing I did a quick knife skills session where they were instructed how to julienne, chop safely and butterfly a chicken breast.
I have never seen 100 pupils over 5 sessions hang on my every word like these pupils did. What they produced was simply amazing, with some of it restaurant quality and those that struggled I helped individually, but every student managed to produce a dish that was visually stunning and tasty. I am so proud of them all and if I’m honest, of myself too. Students just need instruction and if it’s delivered in a clear, confident and supportive manner, they can achieve anything.
Some of these students may be our chefs of the future, so we need to nurture their love of food and guide them on this journey. With well equipped food tech kitchens the possibilities are endless.
I know what was achieved over the last few days was informative, exciting, and has really enthused some bright young minds, that’s all any mentor could hope for.
An added benefit of the experience was the positive and contributive role the food tech teachers played. They were informative and very helpful in mapping out the ingredients list on their new software to include dietary information, calories etc. to be used in the students next theory lesson.
I loved every minute of the event, which culminated in the tech department presenting me a bottle of bubbles accompanied by a heartfelt written card.
Zoe Rugg (Academy Chef)