Students’ time in the classroom is equally split between Math and Food Science class with Diana, and Food Safety class with Jackie. In Food Safety, students study the materials provided in the ServSafe textbook, which covers topics such as proper hand washing technique, food borne illness, hazard analysis plans for the kitchen, proper storage and separation of food and chemicals, and more. At the end of their two months students take the ServSafe exam to obtain their Food Manager’s License from the National Restaurant Association.
Food Safety class is about a lot more than the textbook, however. When Jackie took on the job of Food Safety Instructor, she was already ServSafe certified, but had never before approached the material from the perspective of a teacher. Students ask questions that go into much more depth and detail than the required material; those questions provide a wonderful learning opportunity for teachers, because we can look up the answers and become more educated ourselves in the process. Jackie has been teaching Food Safety for several months now, but still gets new and different questions that inspire her to research and learn more herself.
As part of her focus on in-depth learning that goes above and beyond the textbook, Jackie has developed several hands-on projects that get the students thinking creatively. She developed an activity on Temporary Food Sites, during which students must develop a plan for serving food in a setting that is far from the original food preparation location. The temporary sites that the students could choose from included a food truck, a festival tent, and a catering event. The food served had to include two hot items and one cold item, and the food had to involve some preparation before serving, This activity was designed to exercise the students’ knowledge of hot and cold food holding techniques; time and temperature abuse; pre-preparation versus on-site prepping; cross-contact; and designing HAACP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plans.
Jackie tried out this activity for the first time on Session 23 of Just Bakery students. It turned out to be a bigger success than she had planned for. Therese, who has upwards of ten years experience working in food service and catering, was assigned the catering event as her temporary food site. She went absolutely wild with the project, planning every last detail down to whose party it was and the exact menu that was served.
When Jackie assigned the project to Session 24 of Just Bakery Students, another lucky draw happened; Joe, who has prior experience operating a festival tent, was assigned the festival tent as his temporary food site. Years ago, Joe lead a fundraiser for Better Chance, a nationwide organization that offered education to underprivileged youth. During a Brewer’s Game, he borrowed a friend’s food truck and set it up inside a festival tent on the banks of a river, where he sold hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, and drinks. Other tents closed after the first day, but Joe’s did booming business. He even set up three TVs so customers could watch the game as they ate. Asked about how that experience connects to Food Safety class, Joe remembers that nothing had to sit on ice or be kept warm for extended periods of time; most of the food was kept refrigerated until it was cooked to order, on the spot. The condiments came pre-packaged. In compliance with regulations, Joe put mats down to cover the bare ground.
The Temporary Food Sites project is only one of many activities that Jackie invents to inspire and challenge her students. Longer after they have put away their textbooks and graduated from Food Safety class, Just Bakery’s students will remember the projects that engaged their creative and critical thinking skills.
…by Diana G…