I remember the second half of the 3rd quarter from last year. The weather isn’t the only dampening thing in life, and you can sense struggle in many people’s lives. But the students themselves stay resilient in a way too, looking for more to do. A student quietly requested another silent class, his tone sounded like he wanted “to get things done.” Another mentioned the bastilla we had made at the beginning of the quarter. I love how the students really do seem to know what the next step should be.
The next day went well, as we rolled and steamed the buns (filled with a mushroom/tofu/ginger filling). They rounded out our “Pacific Rim” meal:
|Chicken Adobo over Rice, Sauteed Choy with Peppers, Steamed Vegetarian Bao, Individual Egg Custards|
More soon, as we get into the fourth quarter there are several projects ahead beyond our classroom cooking that will be fun to share!
Then came the next question, as we were plating: What does “garnish” mean? So we got into garnish.
It was the first time I really made a good meal like that. Different. Something that I wouldn’t have tried, but glad I did b/c it was good.–2nd period student
I enjoyed it immensely. It was really fun learning the steps and actually doing hands on work was good. — 3rd period student
|Italian Frittata with Tomato Sauce, Salad with Oranges & Fennel, Italian Almond Cupcakes (Torta Di Mandorla)|
|dark caramel flan|
|chicken mole, enchiladas, nopales|
|kuri squash, cauliflower & green bean curry over rice, tomato chutney, naan with zaatar|
|Visiting with NOPA’s Pastry Chef, Amy Brown|
|time for intersession…|
|intersession = 31 hungry & eager students.|
|intersession = delicious: chicken sausage meatloaf, salad, leek & potato soup, banana pudding with home-made vanilla wafers|
…a quote from one of our students this week. We forget that life has become increasingly noisy and distractive. And we noticed noisy and distractive class habits developing already in this second week of the quarter. “What are we going to make today?” and other questions were becoming conversational ice-breakers, and it was easier to stop and talk with friends, or ask where something was, rather than applying one’s self to the task on hand. This is a default human tendency in general that I’ve seen in some of my most qualified new employees too.
In the workplace, conversation and communication can be two very different things and we were struggling with how to teach this in an active classroom (with sharp knives and hot surfaces). Requesting students to read a prep list wasn’t the answer either. Not only that, what if our students started asking questions non-stop while on a job shadow in a restaurant? That would not work.
So one day this week, we had a silent class. To make it more playful, we added music (thank you Greg, for the great playlist) and had a few instructional tent cards to provide lead in. We kept the tasks simple and safe, rolling dumplings, and were amazed by the efficiency and togetherness that the students created.
|Thank you to our student A. M. for his photographic talents!|
“They better be,” was our answer. The menu this week arose out of student voice and, actually, lack of voice too. Those who had never had clams before kept quiet, which meant all we heard was “clam chowder!”
Bean counting, sorting and soaking.
These are Nicaraguan beans for Gallo Pinto (also known as Casamiento in other countries) – a consoling dish of rice and beans eaten almost daily in that part of the world.
Summer to me is a combination of accounting catch up and planning for the next chapter – and we have much to plan.
We are super excited to announce that we are working with DCYF to expand our classroom work learning into brief job shadows and internships, primarily in restaurants and retail businesses. We are beyond excited and maybe, er, a little scared too, but I take that as a good sign.
Our first step is to hire a second person in the next 30 days and you can find out more about the position here under our Craigslist ad:
(please don’t respond to the ad through this blog though, thanks)
Some of you may wonder why these are “brief” job shadows & internships (for which the students will be paid through this DCYF funding). The last quarter of this year proved to us that relating to students in real working situations is like starting the ignition in a car – and they are eager to step up to the plate. The work situation doesn’t have to be extensive, but it does have to have follow through all the way, including clear, achievable and fair payment for services. You can think of it as professionally believing in someone.
My restaurant experience instilled in me a strong positive attitude, even as I faced daily disasters. You start looking forward to that new calamity you will conquer with a smile, while caring for your customers and seeing their smiles. All this happens quickly, often wordlessly. The sense of achievement is immediate and it brings forward a kind of trust in oneself and in others that you can’t find as easily in a desk job. You can see something ignite in those students who experience even just a taste of this – being a part of something, being valued (and paid) for working, doing a job well, we know these feelings as we get our engines going ourselves in our own work. Firing up that engine is the important part.
What I’m most excited about is the chance to involve restaurant and retail businesses, where I’ve had some of my favorite jobs. It is hard on a business owner to try to create an ongoing alliance, although those in the hospitality industry are some of the most caring, “wanting to give back” people I’ve met. Having this come from where the students are can create a stronger connection with less duplication of effort and a lot more support. If you as a business owner are interested in helping us with these planning stages or want to be more involved with these job shadows and internships, I would love to hear from you!