Exploring a World of Flavors in Culinary II Students begin learning about different, unique regional cuisines

Focusing on group work for the regional cuisine project, sophomore Crystal Knudson begins doing research on what dishes should be included in her group’s menu. Students are assigned group members for the regional cuisine so they can begin researching on a variety of different cuisines and start creating a menu. “I’m expecting to learn a lot about culture since America is full of immigrants,” Knudson said. “Even though American food may seem boring, there are lots of backstories depending on who colonized the area.” Photo Credit: Crystal Knudson

To dive into the topic of regional cuisines, students in Michael Hadobas’ Culinary II class are doing research based on a specific region they will be assigned to in the US. Students are expected to review the ingredients, dishes and history of those cuisines, as well as create a menu.

“I enjoyed learning about the different cuisines because they’re all very different and popular, and it’s nice to have some variety when cooking,” sophomore Hannah Segura said. “I’m mostly excited when we have to do the research for the project and end up cooking some recipes because all this information is interesting for me.”

This unit is to help students to develop an understanding of popular cuisines around the country and notice the similarities and differences between the regions.

“We’ve done a lot of basic knife skills and a lot of basic cooking methods so I want to reinterpret the curriculum standards and start teaching students more advanced cuisines,” Hadobas said. “But looking at it through a different lens of different regional cuisines around the world and I really enjoy starting off with popular American cuisines.”

Due on Dec. 4, students will have one class period to work on the project with their group each week. Students will create the presentation using information from recent lessons and cooking demos, as well as talk about several aspects of their assigned cuisines.

“I enjoy watching the demos Chef does for different kinds of food,” Knudson said. “For example, I usually don’t eat typical southern food. However, I now have the opportunity to do research and create those dishes he demos.”

Grading will be focused on the two parts of the project: the menu and the presentation. Chef will be looking for creative dishes that fit the group’s region on their menu, and all the required information about their regional cuisine.

“With this type of project, I really like giving students the opportunity to really express themselves and their personality show through these projects,” Hadobas said. “So that’s the main thing that I’m also looking for the most, and ultimately see what my students get out of this rather than facts that they can regurgitate for a test or another assignment.”

In past years, this project was incorporated into the Coyote Cafe, but due to distance learning, Hadobas redesigned his curriculum to still allow for the unit.

“We usually go through the list of cuisines based on when that specific cuisine was introduced into America,” Hadobas said. “So not being in person is the only thing that I dislike about assigning this group project, because we don’t have the Coyote Cafe aspect.”

Chef hopes his students not only learn what makes all these regional cuisines unique, but also that they continue to use this information for their own day-to-day lives or career.

“I think I would use this information in the future because I’m always cooking,” Knudson said. “I love learning new dishes and the backstory of the cuisines and if I enjoy it, I’ll make it again in the future which is nice to know.”