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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Learning to Cook with Chef Jenn

Recently a student in my San Marcos (11 week) ROP class entered an essay contest and I loved the kind words that she wrote about the cooking class so much that I wanted to share it with the world.

It warms my heart to know that my classes not only teach students; but gives them inspirations and drive to better themselves.

As a teacher, I do what I do because I love what I do. Knowing that what I do helps other is just a bonus. An amazing bonus, which brings me the greatest joy!

Learning to Cook with Chef Jenn
by Beverly A.

My first and only formal cooking experience started with the San Marcos ROP Culinary Arts class. Wow! I was hooked after the first week. Chef Jenn’s culinary class is extraordinary and full of cooking challenges, yet such a confidence builder! Each week I learn about exotic cuisines, unique foods and where to shop for the freshest vegetables, meats and fruit. These lifetime skills are taught by a world-class professional chef in a state of the art, fully equipped kitchen. How great is that? In addition, my weekly class is introduced to new kitchen aids and fabulous full course menus. At the same time, we work together in small groups, learning to prepare and cook meals while learning team-building skills.

As an elementary teacher and tutor, I think cooking is a fun way to enhance children’s reading and math skills. Now I can add to lessons by demonstrating ounces, gallons, and liters with measuring cups and even ordinary kitchen tools. This cooking class also showed me how everyone learns uniquely. I’m the learner who understands a concept better when there is a “hands–on” demonstration, not only reading from a book. Just like a lot of the kids I teach!

I’ve also found its more rewarding and enjoyable learning about cooking by doing with others in a classroom setting. I enjoy the aroma of bacon cooking (or burning if I’ve become distracted), the sound of chicken pieces crisping with olive oil in a sauté pan or watching whipping crème in the mixer finally turn into nice white, soft peaks. Nothing compares to the self-satisfaction of successfully completing the weekly meals and finally tasting the rewarding, but hard-earned team prepared meal!

Since the class is reasonably priced (which is why I never considered cooking classes in the past) I now have the skills to consider yet another career. With today’s job market in such a fluctuating state, it’s a good feeling to know I have added valuable skills to my resume.

My dream job would be to work for a business that teaches children to cook and have fun experimenting in the kitchen. I would like to introduce students to unique and healthy cuisines, showing them how many foods are surprisingly tasty, good for you and fun to learn about. This class opened up such horizons for me that I don’t think I’m even aware of all the possibilities. I do know that once a week I get the chance to put aside all the worries and weekly stress and play like a kid again. Thanks for such an incredible lifetime opportunity!

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