Three-part Capstone Project Pulls Together a Culinary Education

By Chef Adam Weiner, JD, CFSE

End-of-year project summarizes recipe development, math, pricing, ordering, written and oral presentations, teamwork, and cooking skills.

My students do a Capstone Project which summarizes recipe development, culinary math, pricing, ordering, making written and oral presentations, teamwork, and cooking. This project can be used in all levels and types of culinary classes ranging from high school classes for cooking at home, high school professional level, vocational school or trade school.

The assignment is in three parts.

The first part is a written assignment in the form of a memo. (I have included a sample memo at the end of this article.) The memo is from me to my students and tells them they are going to play the role of young cooks at a major hotel. It also lets them know they will receive a second memo from the catering manager of a real hotel.

The second capstone project section involves following the instructions in a memo from the catering manager at the hotel. (I have included a sample memo at the end of this article.) Basically, students are told they are up and coming cooks and are expected to create a special party for 100 people. They are told to do research, create a menu from books (or the internet), scale the recipes for 100 people, and then draft an ingredient order form. This is a team project and I assign the teams. (Comment: I assign people who don’t work well together when creating the teams. As detailed in Working In Teams Needs To Be Taught and Picking Teams, when students go to work they don’t get to pick with whom they work. Whether or not they like other people isn’t relevant. The job still has to get done, done well and on time.)

For the third project part, I have the group actually make one or two recipes from their project. Note, when I do this I tell them to keep the ingredient size and number of portions exactly as in the original recipe to keep costs and time under control. (Of course, you could have them make 100 servings which helps teach volume production.)

One of the beauties of this capstone project is that it is infinitely adjustable and sizeable….

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