How Tech Enhances the World of Culinary Arts

Technology is used in everything now. From cars…. to education… to cooking, there is a gadget to help you do everything! The below post talks about how tech enhances the world of culinary arts.

Continuing advancements in technology are bringing 21st century education to the next level. Conventional lesson plans and textbooks as we know them today may soon be playing a minor role. In a fast-paced digital world, integrating technology into the classroom is inevitable. A culinary arts school is no exception.

Many schools have started integrating technology into their teaching and learning systems. Typically, these are delivered in the form of PCs and a few laptops. Technology integration into the classroom goes beyond teaching and learning basic computer programs and skills. It must be able to fulfill the deeper purpose of making all the players proactive, interactive, responsive, and connected participants of the educational process.

Is there a need to integrate technology into a culinary arts school?

In order to stand out, a good culinary arts school needs technology because food preparation is a technology-oriented process. From the basic pots and pans and the more complicated food processors to the intricate procedures and techniques of preparing and cooking ingredients, technology is at the center. Why so?

It makes work faster, easier, and produces more accurate results.

For people who are always on the go, automated tools and appliances are faster and easier to use than their manually operated counterparts. Other advancements in culinary technology deliver more accurate and appealing results. For example, a convection oven gives out heat that is rotated by fans within the oven, eliminating sporadic “hot spots” and baking food more evenly. A conventional oven has no fans and the food it bakes may be unevenly cooked. Of course, these inventions make the process of cooking more efficient, but how are they helping to teach the culinary arts? The short answer: more opportunities for innovation and creativity leading to a broader scope of understanding.

Modern cooking tools and appliances within an academic institution allow students to create new cooking ideas. Their creative skills are enhanced as they seek to discover unique ways of doing things that they can later claim to be their exclusive creation. They can also try to learn alternative ingredients, modify recipes or get tips from well-known chefs and culinary authorities.

How can a culinary arts school leverage technology to improve teaching and learning processes?

There are tons of tools already developed with probably more to come. Laptops, tablets, iPads, Chromebooks and other handheld and mobile devices are all around us. Yes, there are unlimited learning tools on food stuff available via the internet that can be viewed on these devices. However, there is only so much one can learn by digesting one way information such as webinars or online lectures. How are these devices making a difference in the classroom or kitchen?

One example is not as much about building knowledge as it is about circumventing common obstacles one finds in the kitchen. Gilt Taste has developed an app that uses the iPad’s built in camera to track hand movement without the need to touch the actual screen. If you have spent any time in a kitchen, you will understand how genius this is. For students of the culinary arts, hand free technologies could be a boon for learning efficiency. Hands covered in flour and touch screens do not a good relationship make.  For students of the culinary arts, hand free technologies could be a boon for learning efficiency.

Teachers and faculty members can use culinary textbooks via tablet computers that are full of great information. Putting the tool in the students hand during the learning process, rather than having teacher’s explain the minutia of it, can lend a hand in streamlining practices in the kitchen, contribute to idea generation, and a myriad of other things that spur creativity in the culinary arts.

Technology also allows teachers to better quantify what the students are learning. The number of apps out there that give accurate readings, whether gauging temperature, cook time, or distribution of ingredients allow culinary art school faculty to assess students more accurately.

While technology can drive culinary learning to new heights, it comes with the caveat that too much reliance on it during the learning process could actually stifle comprehension. Thus, it is up to teachers to decide when to utilize technology as a tool for learning, and when to curtail to show evidence of understanding.

A kitchen can be an unpredictable place, where instinct and adaptability are sought after commodities even in the most technologically advanced one. Thus, culinary arts schools that nourish these attributes with the help of technological advancements will help their students reach the pinnacle of their profession.

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