Creating a Cooking Club Curricula
I'm just about to enter my senior year of high school, and I have noticed a severe lack of cooking skills amongst my peers. To remedy this I am creating a cooking club to teach people the basics of cooking.
So I come to you, oh wise chowhounders, to help me refine my "lesson plan". My plan is to do most of the cooking outside of school but discuss choosing ingredients/knife skills/other tasks that don't immediately require food in school. Here is my current lesson plan (or order in which I will cover them).
1) Grains (rice, quinoa, pasta, couscous)
5) Sauces and Marinades
!st, I agree with Cheryl about the safety and basic knife skills lesson being very early. Your school will probably demand it.
After that, if they will tolerate the book learning and study. Teach the cooking methods and techniques and when they are used and on what foods.
After that Stocks, Soups, Sauces and Grains in that order.
In general, this is the order it is covered in culinary school.
Unfortunately, you may need to jump into cooking something before all that gets done to hold their attention. It sure would be nice if they knew those cooking techniques in theory before they started cooking much.
There are knife skills videos out there and onions and potatoes are cheap to practice with so you might start with that if you are going to have to do that you might as well start by sweating some onions and sauteing some diced potatoes. Caramelizing onions would be good too.
Wow. if you could get them that far quickly, they really would know quite a bit and have a great foundation.
I think your list is great especially paired with the previous food safety and knife skills lessons. I would try to include methods to make things that are popular with the people who join. If everyone loves pizza, maybe make pizzas and discuss different things that could go on (traditional, thai chicken, white etc). If they love sushi try califorinia rolls or something. Sounds like fun, good luck!
Thanks! Yeah, I really want to get them "hooked" by making something that they can eat pretty quickly. At school I'll do food safety and knife skills (without actual knives, though; they're not allowed at campus). We'll probably go to farmer's markets on weekends so they get to see where their food comes from and how to pick out the best stuff.
This is awesome!
I would also suggest some instruction on how to purchase produce and foodstuffs -- what to look for in terms of quality and freshness. Don't mean to sound snotty here, but I can't believe how many people I see at the store who buy produce without so much as giving it a once over (to check for bruises, mold, etc.) or a smell (is appropriate).
I know this isn't directly related to the actual cooking, but good inputs are necessary for good output.
Does anyone have experience doing this? I'd love to hear from some people who know what this entails...