Category Archives: Classroom

Middle Ground

It has been awhile. A lot has happened with events, garden work, graduation, even childbirth (congratulations Debbie and Chris!!!).

This isn’t the first time I’ve posted the skills and values our students identify at the beginning of each quarter, this set being from our most recent class. But it is a place of beginnings (most of us love fresh starts) and these again remind me of a few things.

First and foremost: students know what they need. Second, when I read these again, I am struck with how much these are skills and values that I want too, which is pretty heartwarming. It may not immediately create a common bond, but is a reminder that we are not that different from each other after all.


The hard part as the weeks progress (and it is only 8-9 weeks that we have together) is to sustain our values while keeping sight of our progress when challenges pop up.You’re having problems with friends or another teacher and aren’t in the mood to work, or you get distracted with others in class and miss some vitals in a recipe.

Any teen may not realize that this happens to all of us and in the workplace all the time. We all make mistakes and have off days. Sometimes what happens next are the best times in class, when we show our human-ness, responding to mistakes without getting personal or reactive (which are learned skills achieved only through practice). What could get charged up becomes an “oh” moment instead, not so bad, and the new understanding brings in a glimmer of trust. We start making connections as a kind of middle ground forms. Then people get a little braver, a little more trusting – and then a “wow” moment happens – what we made is delicious!  Trust leads to accomplishment, leads to appreciation, leads to giving, leads to feeling great about giving, leads to creating even more.  It is the magic of cooking together.

Springing into Action

pasta & winter salad plating

winter salad next to spinach lasagne

 

phyllo triangles, dolma, pickled red onion and more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy February 2017 Everyone!   This quarter our new batch of students are keeping us busy, inspiring us to work harder (and better).  Lots of great teamwork and excitement is building as we head towards our next Long Table Dinner.

That’s right – Long Table Dinner 8  will be on Thursday March 2nd, 2017, 6-8pm.

Tickets will be available very soon – YAY!

Our Seventh Long Table Dinner! Thursday October 6th 2016

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This may be a sparse hallway, but in two weeks it will be filled with the magic burble and delicious aromas that many of us in the restaurant industry have come to know and love.

Please be a part of it by picking up a few tickets at this next Long Table Dinner!  Tickets can be purchased via our Brown Paper Ticket Event link:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2604746

We look forward to seeing you at the table!

Indeed, we are cooking.

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This is a working kitchen now.  I stayed late on this afternoon to finish canning the last batch of grape jelly, made from donated grapes (NaStar Farms) and Barbera grape juice (Muir Made) – no pectin, so it is a softer texture – good for glazing sweet or savory items, or even as a bit of a drizzle on some cheese.  There are more donations under the window – fresh quince which have such a welcoming fragrance – and soon will become another delicious preserve.

We’ve been incredibly lucky with the bounty coming into the classroom – thank you!  And our students are tackling the large quantities with gusto as we gear up for our first Long Table Dinner in two years.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Spicy Black Bean Soup, Cabbage Salad with Beets

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Turon (Banana Lumpia), Chocolate Truffles, Pineapple Garnish

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Lumpia, Potstickers, Lemper Ayam, Green Onion Pancake, Bun Cha Gio

Here are a few shots of class over these past few weeks, a  Jamaican themed menu from last week, and an Asian dumpling inspiration on another week:

 

 

 

 

What impresses me most right now is the very determined nature of our students. It is compelling – and it will definitely come in handy in the weeks ahead!

As we turn our menu discussions towards the Long Table Dinner, (LTD 7!)  we hope you will set aside the evening of Thursday October 6th and join us for this fun event where we will turn our newly renovated main hallway into a pop-up dinner venue, for a delicious multi-course meal made and served by our students.

Menu details and a link to tickets to follow soon!

News about Us!

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Ida B. Wells 2016 (photo courtesy of Lemanski and Rockwell Architects)

While we wait for some final construction details to be completed, these two articles came out about us and our school:

Paste Magazine Article by Annelies Zjiderveld:

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/06/alice-cravens-thriving-in-the-heat-of-the-kitchen.html

This is a great article if you are interested in learning more about the focus of our class – thank you always Annelies!

Hoodline article about Ida B. Wells reopening:

http://hoodline.com/2016/07/renovation-complete-at-ida-b-wells-high-students-to-return-this-fall?utm_source=individual-stories&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=stories

A good one if you are curious about the renovations and the feel of our new school.  We will be back inside as early as next week, preparing for our students’ returns August 15th.

We are so excited to get started again!

Let the Sun Shine In

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Wow. The end of May blew my mind.  We knew we were moving. All of a sudden here we are, unpacking. In our newly tiled kitchen.  With windows. Real working windows!

You know what? I cried a little.
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Continuing around the room, there is one feature we are particularly proud of, something very important. Perhaps only some chefs drool at the idea of a new hood. It is that shiny silver thing on the ceiling, center back. This allows you to bring in the fire power of professional cooking. For us that happens to be a 6 burner gas range. (We like to keep things small yet powerful.) And where exactly is that firepower?  It is waiting patiently outside the room while contractors figure out the easiest way to squeeze it in.  We know it will happen.

So enough basking in this for a bit.  What helped us get through this past year and a half while our culinary classroom was being created?  Our students and their resilience first and foremost, and their willingness to try a hybrid version of our class, definitely.  And there are many more people who helped keep us reaching week after week:

  • Dan Scherotter, he allowed us to use the OC Culinary space part time, which allowed us to actively work with our students again- so important!
  • BiRite Markets, what great staff!  In their busy business, they seamlessly found ways to bring in a few of our students as produce interns at their Divisadero Street store. They are a stellar example of great teamwork in action.
  • NOPA Restaurant, so generous and gracious with our intern there!  True support and best training ground for hospitality and life.
  • De Young Museum Cafe, Jason finding a way to give our students a chance.  Thank you for creating another great workplace and for your involvement!
  • AOHTFS & CTE – Oh acronyms.  These are our academy board and district department. School districts have to be steeped in accountability, but it is artful how in working with these two groups, we can feel that their supporting us in our work is their priority.
  • And most of all, the people I get to work with at Ida B. Wells, in particular: Debbie Guardado and Michael Martinez. One can’t keep doing the same thing over and over (isn’t that the definition of insanity?).  Having a team who understands the heart behind the heat keeps that most important spark going.

Have a great summer everyone!

Remembering Skills & Values

Students always give the best advice on what to teach.
Skills Q2 2016

Values Q2 2016

We got this advice at the beginning of this past quarter when we asked students:

What skills do you want to improve?   What values are important to you?

Our take aways from this past quarter are more than just the pictures in this post may relate, but these speak so much to what we are practicing in our work simulation classes.  You can’t think yourself into improving these skills and holding to these values, you have to practice them. And I wanted to acknowledge them and the hard work of our 3rd quarter students before heading into our 4th and last quarter of the school year. Thank you students!  Before we know it, we will be packing up and moving back into our school site and a brand new kitchen!  I’m glad that this advice will go with us.