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Contemporary Cuisine Review

This is the last project and post I will be making for my Contemporary Cuisine class. As it is the midterm and this class is ending I will be moving to Extending the Seasons next week, where I have the challenge of re-making my family pickle recipe, and then improving it…. This is going to be a tall task….

What did you enjoy?

This was a very fun class with a lot of very good discussion about what Contemporary Cuisine is and how to make dishes for allergies or restrictions. We have been able to use many different cooking methods that we have learned about across many different classes here at NECI. The lab times were are great way to be creative with our own ideas. I also really liked the ability to experiment and test our ideas. Truth be told I enjoyed this class a lot more than I thought I was going to, and it wasn’t nearly as challenging or difficult a concept to grasp and adapt to as previous students made it out to be.

What were the best learning experiences?

I think that the healthy burger challenge and cooking to different allergies and restrictions labs were the best of this class. I feel that this class was more focused on these concepts so for me they presented good learning opportunities. I also really liked the lecture about healthy desserts and the different items you could “sub-in”. This lecture really did make a nice end to class just like dessert does to any meal.

What didn’t you find effective?

Cooking to the five senses was rather pointless I feel. This was two whole classes dedicated to the exact same thing that we went over in every Taste and Flavor class. While the review wasn’t a bad thing, at this point in our education it is a concept that we are already going to understand or we are not, two more classes isn’t going to make a difference in this. I know that Taste and Flavor has been paired with Nutrition and is now called Sensory Analysis, but when I took the class we had two whole classes focused on making cuisine lighter and healthier. Talking with students in the new Sensory Analysis class this is a bigger focus now then it was before, so I don’t think that we need to spend a lecture and a lab in a BA level class going over this again.

What would you add to this course?

I would like to see blind challenges focused around what we have learned about from the lecture beforehand. I really liked how Art of Cuisine worked when I went through it back in Mod 3. In this class we had a week’s worth of ingredients and had to use only what we had day after day and by the end of the week it become more challenging as ingredients got used up. Pair this with a blind choice of an allergy or dietary restriction and it would really push our creativity and add a more realistic level to the class. In real life situations we are not going to have a chance to pre-plan out recipes or be given a list of items that we are going to have available to us. We will need to use what we have at hand in the spur of the moment to come up with a great tasting dish that meets the needs of our guest.

Is there anything that you would eliminate?

As I said in what I didn’t find effective I would eliminate the lecture and lab class about cooking to the five senses because I didn’t find it as an effective learning opportunity. This was the only real complaint that I had with the class and it isn’t even a real complaint as it was a nice review. I think this lecture and lab class would be better if the extra credit assignment of working with carbohydrates was an actual part of the class as I found this more important to the focus of this class then the review of cooking with the five senses.

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