Food studies is officially back at Bethany!

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Mr Hampton,Food & Nutrition Teacher at Bethany School, gives an update from his department and the food buzz that is being created again now practical food lessons are returning.

Food studies is officially back at Bethany!

As the new Food Studies teacher at Bethany, I made it my mission to provide an exciting and enjoyable experience to our pupils from September. This was especially important given the long-lasting lack of opportunities to cook in school due to COVID-19 and the number of lockdowns that affected us all over the last two years.

I won’t lie, there has been a real buzz…

To catch up on the all-so-important practical lessons missed, my main focus for our KS3 students has been to introduce them to the fundamentals of working in the kitchen. Starting with knife safety, I showed pupils how to handle a knife correctly by introducing them to the two grips most widely used in industry when cutting food; these are the bridge and the claw. Pupils have also learnt about how to prepare for a practical lesson by practising good hand washing, wearing an apron, removing any jewellery, tying their hair back, and— their least favourite part— WASHING UP!

This then continued into notions of food safety, such as how to prevent food-related illnesses, the 4Cs, and key temperatures in food handling. But it’s not all about preparing food! We also discussed eating habits and healthy eating and how the foods we choose to eat are broken down and used by the body. To incorporate a more experimental aspect to our learning, pupils have also been involved in some exciting—and at times controversial— taste testing activities and some sensory analysis of various foods.

Now, for the part pupils enjoy the most: the practical lessons. KS3 pupils have been consolidating their learning of knife safety by creating some spectacular fruit art as well as learning how to use the hob, oven and grill safely. These have been learnt and consolidated by cooking a range of both sweet and savoury dishes which have rarely made it home at the end of the day. As a food teacher, there is no better sense of gratification than seeing pupils eat what they have made with a look of pride and achievement on their faces.

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My Hospitality and Catering pupils have also been back in the kitchen cooking up some restaurant-quality dishes. In preparation for the NEA exams in year 11, pupils have been learning and practising a range of high-level skills including portioning a chicken, preparing and baking with a range of different types of pastry, sauces, and desserts. A highlight of the year has been to put pupils to the test with ‘Ready-Steady-Cook’ style practical lessons which really pushed them and stretched their creativity. I am extremely impressed with their efforts and their continuous progress.

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Finally, at Bethany we run an enrichment programme involving pupils in a range of different activities, including cooking. For these activities, I aimed to offer an opportunity to create something that pupils would not normally cook during a lesson. Viennese whirls, crumble cakes, Red Velvet muffins and fruit tarts are just a few of the delicious concoctions made, often fitting in with a special holiday or celebration. Pupils have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and so have I!

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