By: Keio Carter
I was selected to participate in the Teachers in Industry Program (TIP). This program was designed by the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development with the objective of providing an educator with on-site, hands-on work experience at various companies where students might be placed for work-based learning. In addition, TIP was designed to create a partnership and support system between the local business and the teacher. I selected the wonderful chef Todd Richards at White Oak Kitchen to complete my program hours.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to see how a positive experience in a CTAE course can transform students into more focused, engaged and motivated learners. Culinary arts not only exposes students to various foods, cuisines and cooking methods, but it also provides them with skills they can use throughout their lives. By participating in TIP, it reiterated the importance of CTAE courses in our schools and the impact they have on the lives of students as they prepare for their futures.
Knowing that most culinary curriculums are aligned with industry standards, completing this project helped me realize the importance of teaching more management and organizational skills to our students. The hospitality and food-service industry offers a variety of professions, so as educators in CTAE, we need to ensure that our students understand as much as possible about this field so that they are more marketable when entering postsecondary and beyond.
During my five days at White Oak Kitchen I had the opportunity to work in each section of the kitchen and explore what it would be like for one of my students. I must admit that this was one of the most organized and calmest kitchens I’ve seen in a long time. Everyone understood their roles and responsibilities, which led to seamless service between the back of the house and the front of the house. On my last day at White Oak, Chef Todd allowed me to work side by side with him plating for a special five-course dinner. It was impressive to see the intricate detail given to each plate before leaving the kitchen.
I intend on taking what I’ve learned back to my school to share with the other culinary arts teachers. Culinary arts is a growing industry, so it’s very important for students and educators to understand the skills needed to be more competitive in such a demanding market. Management skills, organization, knowledge of kitchen terminology and communication skills, just to name a few, are key to a successful career in the culinary arts.
Working with Chef Todd Richards and his staff at White Oak Kitchen in Atlanta helped me as a CTAE educator to better understand the skills and training needed to be productive and efficient in an upscale kitchen.
Overall, TIP was a great experience that will prove to be very beneficial for the future of the work-based learning/CTAE students entering into the world of culinary arts.
Chef Keio Carter, a Region II Fellow, is a high school culinary arts teacher at Miller Grove High School in Dekalb County, Georgia.