Culinary school curricula are composed of courses that present techniques rooted in the classical French cuisine of Escoffier. Students learn by doing; that is, they are presented a technique in a two-dimensional textbook, watch an instructor demonstrate it, and then practice it on their own. This article traces a lesson that enhances this process by asking students to incorporate higher-order concepts into their learning process, and challenge what they know. Through the interactive demonstration of breaking down and processing a whole pig, students were challenged to connect this experience to broader issues in their personal lives, their career goals, and contemporary issues such as reducing food waste. The analysis highlights that when students are engaged in growing the produce they use to learn knife skills, or breaking down the pig they use to make pâté, an enhanced connection exists that benefits the learning environment.
Follow That Pig: Visually Charting Enhanced Learning in a Culinary School Butchery Class
Mark D'Alessandro is Director of Culinary Arts at Kingsborough Community College, and an Assistant Professor. Prior to joining the faculty at Kingsborough, he taught at various schools and universities across the United States. He worked extensively for the first fifteen years of his career as a chef and butcher in restaurants throughout the country. He holds an associate's degree from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in culinary arts, a baccalaureate degree from Florida International University in Hospitality Management, and Master of Arts from New York University in Food Studies. Currently he is working on a doctoral degree, and his research interests are power dynamics in localized niche meat markets.
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Mark D'Alessandro; Follow That Pig: Visually Charting Enhanced Learning in a Culinary School Butchery Class. Gastronomica 1 August 2018; 18 (3): 82–92. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2018.18.3.82
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