10 March 2010

GUEST BLOG: Cracking Cooks training session, Wednesday 3 March


It didn’t bode well. The venue (St Ninian’s Church) seemed deserted and when I finally got in, I was presented with a large church hall, a semi-circle of seats and a heater. It looked like it was going to be a long, cold and dull four hours for my Cracking Good Food training to be a Cooking Leader.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. First, Adele greeted us, gushing and motivated as usual; then Beth sidled out of the kitchen and re-introduced herself and the aim of the session. Folders were distributed; teas, coffees and juices offered and pleasantries exchanged; and the room wasn’t as cold as expected – I even took my coat off.

And so the session began. It was well structured, concise and divided into bite-sized pieces. We covered the usual suspects: Health & Safety, How To Run A Cookery Class, Housekeeping For Cooking Sessions, Recipe Sheets Debriefing, Equipment Requisition, Costings and Registration. But we also talked within the group. We discussed issues that surfaced, brought up problems that worried us and raised matters that hadn’t even been thought of. A very agreeable session.

The bit that I/we hadn’t expected was a bit of real cooking. Two recipes had been provided and we divided into a Veggie group and a Meat group. We were set the task of following a recipe (my own personal nightmare) in order to produce either a vegetable cobbler or a sausage something-or-other (don’t care; it wasn't veggie!). It was quite interesting seeing a group of chefs, home cooks or wannabe foodies all come together in a kitchen and interact. We didn’t really have time to form a hierarchy or have squabbles, but it was fun and quick and helped everyone bond. So, within half an hour we had two dishes in the oven for our lunch - giving us enough time to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire. Read on.

Cooking time was literally the time taken to fill in the self-assessment form. This would indicate our learning styles. By ticking a series of questions regarding how we approach life and analysing the results, we discovered how we function. No one could believe how perfect I was, but that’s life.

Following this we ate lunch, disseminated the assessment form, talked at length about future courses, discussed how things were likely to pan out and ironed out any potential problems. So all-in-all a very good, interesting and fruitful course.

P.S. Did I mention that for lunch we had to move to a very cold room (coats on), the vegetable cobbler was voted the best (does my memory serve me right? or is this maybe fictitious?) and the topping was baked to perfection, and Cracking Good Food moves on to the next level. Several more members committed to the cause.

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