Culinary tutoring a cut above the rest

By: Stefany Olivas, Managing Editor | Photo By: Stefany Olivas, Managing Editor

Culinary tutors are available for students in need of help with learning dif­ferent culinary con­cepts, said Part-time Culinary Instructor Brianna Dennis.

The tutors use many approaches to help stu­dents learn the material from their classes like visual aids in the cooking lab, or hands-on work­sheets the students would use in the industry.

“I love seeing students succeed, and watching them make the connec­tion. Seeing them learn about their passion only increases their motiva­tion to feed their passion which amazing to me,” said Dennis.

The culinary tutors are located in Smith Brasher Hall near the cooking labs to make it easier for culinary stu­dents to access them.

“We’re right here instead of being all the way across campus. We get more of the students when they come out of class,” said Dennis.

The instructors encourage the students to visit the tutors because sometimes students are scared to ask questions in class, she said.

The tutors can help with any subject related to the culinary classes and the industry such as safety and sanitation, culinary math, pricing, recipes, and project ideas and even the Introduction to Computers class IT 1010, said Dennis.

“We can help them understand why they need to know Excel, and which points they should be really strong in, and how to relate all those programs to our indus­try,” she said.

The tutoring pro­gram for the Culinary Arts is not very well known, but the past year has been busier than usual, she said.

Culinary Arts and Business major Frederick Dotson said he attends tutoring sessions with Culinary Tutor Denise Terrazas where she helps him not only with his schooling, but with tasks he will be using in his culinary and business career as a pastry shop owner and head baker.

In order to start, he first needs to figure out the yield of his ingre­dients and how much everything will cost, he said. Terrazas helps him by breaking down the process to understand­able terms, he said.

“I’m actually going to have to do this in real life. She really breaks it all the way down to elemen­tary form, which a lot of people need and a lot of teachers don’t do, so she’s really good at that,” said Dotson.

Dennis said that every student has a different style of learning, but the tutors can usually figure out the best way for them to retain the material.

“Usually after work­ing with a student for a few minutes, it’s easy to understand if stu­dents need visual aids to understand or charts, or if they need to work out the problem step by step,” said Dennis. “Sometimes taking stu­dents into the kitchen and showing them the tools we use to measure helps them understand culinary math or mea­surement conversions.”

She said when help­ing students figure out a problem, she first takes a look at the primary steps, and depending on their level, will decide whether or not to move on to the more compli­cated concepts.

“I go back to the basics to see what they know and that helps me under­stand where to begin. If they are confident there, then I know we can jump forward,” said Dennis.

The subjects that students struggle with the most are the culi­nary math and projec­tion sheets, said Dennis. “Usually measurement conversions is the big­gest thing students have trouble with, also con­verting recipes to smaller amounts,” said Dennis.

Dennis encourages the students to be active students in the class­room, especially now that finals are approach­ing, she said. “Practice, read chapters aloud, and ask the tutors questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” said Dennis.

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